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Lebanon has missed a December 22, 2009, deadline for setting up a national institution to prevent torture, a group of Lebanese and international human rights organizations said today. The government should move quickly to consider a proposal commissioned by the Justice Ministry that would address the issue, the groups said.

A year ago, Lebanon signed the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The protocol requires the government to set up a mechanism within a year to prevent torture through regular visits to the country’s detention centers.

Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar set up a committee on June 20, including some members of nongovernmental organizations, to draft a proposal to set up the program, and the committee submitted its proposal to the Justice Ministry on September 30. But the government has taken no further steps since then. Reuters, Human Rights Watch

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