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Having appeared before the U.N. Committee Against Torture for the first time since adopting the treaty the committee oversees 17 years ago, Lebanon must now determine how to act on the body's recommendations. Civil society organizations and the newly established Ministry of State for Human Rights Affairs are leading the push to implement the recommendations, which were published in the CAT's concluding remarks on May 12 after Lebanon appeared before the committee in April. Lebanon's progress regarding torture and the seriousness with which the delegation to the CAT approached the process were praised, but the current political climate was raised as a significant barrier to maintaining momentum on this issue.Many of the recommendations' key priorities – amending and passing a draft law to criminalize torture, selecting and appointing members to the new national human rights institution and establishing a plan of action to follow up on the committee's new and previous recommendations – require governmental action.Wadih al-Asmar, secretary-general of CLDH, said Wednesday that the organization supports the creation of one governmental body to serve as a point of liaison for ministries as well as civil society organizations.The conference, the third held by CLDH, also aimed to cement cooperation between the government and civil society organizations on the issue of torture in Lebanon.
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