Over the past several months, different groups of Lebanese protestors have gone to the streets all over the nation demanding numerous rights—economic, social, political and judicial. While there is a clear dissatisfaction of the Lebanese people with the governing of their state, there is also an emerging concern over the lack of a unifying vision for all these demands—one that can lead to the true change the Lebanese people are longing for.
If we look at the basket of rights being demanded such as accountability as it pertains to rampant corruption, an independent judiciary, women’s rights, the elimination of sectarianism, voting rights, environmental rights, banking depositors’ rights, etc, an important question is whether there is a way to unify all these rights under one single banner. The answer can be learnt from history and how other societies around the world have dealt with it. Basically, they have utilized a constitutional instrument called a Citizen’s Bill of Rights (in French: Declaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen). It represents a package of citizen demands and rights that are first declared as a whole, then legislated under one single Bill of Rights (which is a constitutional amendment), and then implemented.
The Lebanese Bill of Rights serves as a legal instrument whose objective is to reassert, retain and introduce new rights to a faulty constitution. It united ALL Lebanese under ONE single banner: Demanding a Citizen’s Bill of Rights that provides the necessary rights to ALL citizens equally. In so doing, it aims to serve as a counterbalance to an inattentive and abusive state by empowering the individual citizens with their full rights and arming them with a simple, concise and clear listing of rights. It also provides an overarching vision and aspiration for how the Lebanese see themselves and their future.