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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Monitoring MPs’ Human Rights and Free Speech Positions – September 2023

Thursday , 26 October 2023

Background and Context


In September, there was a notable decline in the number of statements made by Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding human rights. While the monthly count had consistently exceeded 40 statements since March 2023, it dropped to just 26 statements in September 2023.


Throughout our daily monitoring of MPs’ social media accounts, we observed recurring themes that were not covered in this report due to their lack of relevance to human rights issues. These themes included some MPs expressing solidarity with the United States Embassy in Lebanon following an attack, others showing empathy for the victims of Morocco’s earthquake, some commemorating former President Bachir Gemayel on the anniversary of his assassination day (September 14, 1982), and others celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday (September 27, 2023).


Furthermore, there were numerous statements discussing matters related to public schools in Lebanon. However, these statements did not directly address the advocacy for the right to education. Instead, their primary focus was on the rights of teachers to fair compensation. If these statements had directly addressed the right to education, they would have been incorporated into this report.


Similar to the previous month, the “Poor Performers” section has been included at the end of this report to highlight MPs who have exhibited discriminatory behavior and taken anti-human rights positions.




In September 2023, 26 statements were issued by a total of 17 Lebanese MPs through their individual X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook accounts. This represents the lowest number of statements observed since March 2023, spanning the period from September 1 to 30, 2023.


These statements have been categorized into the following topics:


  • Armenians' rights
  • Journalists’ rights (Maryam Majdoline Lahham’s arrest)
  • Prohibition of child marriage
  • Beirut blast
  • Repression on public freedoms
  • Rights of LGBTQIA+ people
  • Freedom of expression
  • Enforced disappearance


Data Display


It is important to acknowledge that the data collected during this process may not be exhaustive. Nonetheless, despite its inherent limitations, the gathered data enables us to formulate hypotheses concerning the discourse surrounding human rights issues. This analysis specifically focuses on journalists’ rights and freedom of speech within the public political discourse throughout September 2023.

Figure 1. Distribution of data across Members of Parliament

Figure 2. Distribution of data across political parties and groups

Figure 3. Distribution of data based on group type


Figure 4. Distribution of data across theme of statement


Table 1. Distribution of data across theme of statement and group name




In September 2023, a total of 26 statements were issued by MPs. Notably, there was a significant emphasis on the rights of Armenians, with nine of these statements being dedicated to addressing the displacement of Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh residents. Additionally, five statements were dedicated to advocating for journalists’ rights, particularly in relation to Maryam Majdoline Lahham’s case, while four statements were focused on addressing the proposed law aimed at prohibiting child marriage.


For a deeper understanding of which political groups were the most vocal during September 2023, we can examine the total count of statements made by each group. The following table provides an overview of these findings:


Table 2. Ranking based on absolute numbers - five political groups with highest numbers of statements


Table 3. Ranking based on relative numbers - from the political group with the highest percentage of members who made statements to the one with the lowest percentage


Table 4. Ranking of the top-10 MPs who shared most statements from June 2022 till September 2023


In September 2023, MP Paula Yacoubian emerged as the most prolific speaker on issues related to human rights, with a total of five statements. Over the course of our monitoring efforts since January 2023, MPs Mark Daou, Halimé Kaakour, and Ibrahim Mneimneh have consistently held the top three positions in terms of statement frequency.


“Poor Performers”: Anti Human Rights Standpoints


The Homophobe

MP Edgard Traboulsi delivered a half-hour sermon on OTV, in which he asserted that homosexuality is an ailment that can and should be treated.


The Xenophobes

MP Elias Jradeh continued to make xenophobic remarks, mirroring his behavior from the previous month.


As for MP Pierre Bou Assi, he escalated his rhetoric with two prejudiced statements demonstrating hostility towards Syrian refugees. In the initial statement, MP Bou Assi suggested that the sole resolution to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon was to cease providing them with aid. In the subsequent statement, he emphasized the necessity of discontinuing all financial assistance to Syrian refugees.

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