Welcome to LIFE institute
The Lebanese Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (LIFE) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to democratic development, spreading Human Rights as a culture and solving conflicts. It was established in 2006 by a group of Lebanese lawyers and scholars. Since the beginning, LIFE worked in the field of public awareness, and tended to the causes of the marginalized. It also followed the issue of prisons in Lebanon, and was an active member in the governmental committees relevant to the situation of prisons and prisoners. The institute defended the rights of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and demanded the amelioration of their humanitarian and legal situation. Since day one, the institute was aware that it will be working in a country torn by internal and factional conflicts; a country with corrupted governmental and legal institutions, where laws are made to benefit those in power – not to tend to people’s needs and interests. Thus, LIFE has organized many seminars and conferences for the active members of the civil society, in order to reform the Lebanese system on the political, security and judicial levels.
The beginning of the year 2009 was a turning point for LIFE’s activities, whereas it started working abroad, training Jordanian lawyers to document violations of the International Criminal law, after a number of Arab and foreign activists manifested the need to sue Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and show the occupation and colonization as an expanding crime against the Palestinian people.
The events of Mahalla in Cairo in 2008, the forging of Egyptian elections and the torture to death of a young man called Khalid Saeed by officers of the Egyptian police in Alexandria in 2010, all incited a Human Rights movement in the Arab world – which coincided with the exposure of many violations of the kind, all filmed and uploaded on YouTube and gone viral on social networks, and exposed to the public opinion. Therefore, in the summer of 2010, LIFE found no choice but to join similar organizations, and started training cadres of young bloggers from all around the Arab world for the sake of Human Rights causes, exposing the trespasses of the regimes with the state of emergency, overcoming censorship and organizing a peaceful Human Rights movement in order to establish democratic societies that respect fundamental Human Rights.
At the commencement of the Arab Spring early in the year 2011, LIFE trained the Syrian youth on the strategies of nonviolent struggle and on building its own potential in order to reach a democratic regime, based on the Serbian experience under Slobodan Milosevic, and on Gene Sharp’s theory on civil resistance and nonviolent struggle to dismantle monolithic power. With the start of the armed conflict between the opposition and the regime in Syria, and while the crimes against civilians were expanding, LIFE launched a series of workshops for Syrian lawyers and legal activists in order to train them to document the violations committed against International Humanitarian Law and the International Criminal Law. Moreover, LIFE developed the Syrian civil society’s potential and encouraged Syrian activists to establish active organization in all fields. Then in early 2012, LIFE launched the Syrian Civil Administration Councils Project (SCAP), in order to manage the areas that were no longer under the autocratic regime’s control. This was done via the Syrian civil society and the dissident military and security officials, to prevent chaos and build for a peaceful and clear transition. In June 2012, the SCACP became the lifeboat of all the Syrians, whereas several Syrian political and civil movements adopted the project. And in September 2012, LIFE established an internal Bureau for Syrian Affairs, under the management of competent Syrian diplomats and Human Rights activists.
LIFE considers that democracy in the Arab world, no matter the consequences, will only bring good to the region and its people; whereas dictatorships only brought ignorance, underdevelopment, corruption, poverty, terrorism and chaos. LIFE believes that political differences in democratic regimes are better than stability in dictatorships…
This is our message… this is who we are, always.