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Constitution of Lebanon – 1: Fundamental Provisions

PART ONE
FUNDAMENTAL PROVISIONS
PREAMBLE
(INTRODUCED BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1990)

A) Lebanon is a sovereign, free, and independent country. It is a final homeland for all its citizens. It is unified in its territory, people, and institutions within the boundaries defined in this constitution and recognized internationally.

B) Lebanon is Arab in its identity and in its affiliation. It is a founding and active member of the League of Arab States and abides by its pacts and covenants. Lebanon is also a founding and active member of the United Nations Organization and abides by its
covenants and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Government shall embody these principles in all fields and areas without exception.

C) Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic based on respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinion and belief, and respect for social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination.

D) The people are the source of authority and sovereignty; they shall exercise these powers through the constitutional institutions.

E) The political system is established on the principle of separation of powers, their balance and cooperation.

F) The economic system is free and ensures private initiative and the right of private property.

G) The even development among regions on the educational, social, and economic levels shall be a basic pillar of the unity of the state and the stability of the system.

H) The abolition of political confessionalism shall be a basic national goal and shall be achieved according to a staged plan.

I) Lebanese territory is one for all Lebanese. Every Lebanese shall have the right to live in any part thereof and to enjoy the rule of law wherever he resides. There shall be no segregation of the people on the basis of any type of belonging, and no fragmentation, partition, or settlement of non-Lebanese in Lebanon.

J) There shall be no constitutional legitimacy for any authority which contradicts the ‘pact of mutual existence.

CHAPTER ONE
THE STATE AND ITS TERRITORY

Article 1
(As amended by the constitutional law of November 9, 1943)

Lebanon is an independent, indivisible, and sovereign state. Its frontiers are those which now bound it:

On the North: From the mouth of Nahr Al-Kabir along a line following the course of this river to its point of junction with Wadi Khalid opposite Jisr Al-Qamar.

On the East: The summit line separating the Wadi Khalid and Nahr Al-Asi, passing by the villages of Mu’aysarah, Harbanah, Hayt, Ibish, Faysan to the height of the two villages of Brifa and Matraba. This line follows the northern boundary of the Ba`albak District at the northeastern and south eastern directions, thence the eastern boundaries of the districts of Ba`albak, Biqa’, Hasbayya, and Rashayya.

On the South: The present southern boundaries of the districts of Sûr (Tyre) and Marji`yun.

On the West: The Mediterranean.

Article 2
No part of the Lebanese territory may be alienated or ceded.

Article 3
The boundaries of the administrative areas may not be modified except by law.

Article 4
Greater Lebanon is a Republic the capital of which is Beirut.

Article 5
(As amended by the Constitutional Law of December 7, 1943)
The Lebanese flag shall be composed of three horizontal stripes, a white stripe between two red ones. The width of the white stripe shall be equal to that of both red stripes. In the center of and occupying one third of the white stripe is a green Cedar tree with its top touching the upper red stripe and its base touching the lower red stripe.

CHAPTER TWO
THE LEBANESE:
THEIR RIGHTS AND DUTIES

Article 6
Lebanese nationality and the manner in which it is acquired, retained, and lost shall be determined in accordance with the law.

Article 7
All Lebanese shall be equal before the law. They shall equally enjoy civil and political rights and shall equally be bound by public obligations and duties without any distinction.

Article 8
Individual liberty is guaranteed and protected by law. No one may be arrested, imprisoned, or kept in custody except according to the provisions of the law. No offense may be established or penalty imposed except by law.

Article 9
There shall be absolute freedom of conscience. The state in rendering homage to the God Almighty shall respect all religions and creeds and shall guarantees, under its protection the free exercise of all religious rites provided that public order is not disturbed. It shall also guarantees that the personal status and religious interests of the population, to whatever religious sect they belong, shall be respected.

Article 10
Education shall be free insofar as it is not contrary to public order and morals and does not affect the dignity of any of the religions or sects. There shall be no violation of the right of religious communities to have their own schools provided they follow the general rules issued by the state regulating public instruction.

Article 11
(As amended by the Constitutional Law of November 9, 1943)
Arabic is the official national language. A law shall determine the cases in which the French language can be used.

Article 12
Every Lebanese shall be the right to hold public office, no preference shall be made except on the basis of merit and competence, according to the conditions established by law.  A special statute shall guarantee the rights of civil service in the departments to which they belong.

Article 13
The freedom to express one’s opinion orally or in writing, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom of association shall be guaranteed within the limits established by law.

Article 14
The place of residence is inviolable. No one may enter it except in the circumstances and manners prescribed by law.

Article 15
Rights of ownership shall be protected by law. No one’s property may be expropriated except for reasons of public utility, in the cases established by law and after fair compensation has been paid beforehand.

Next: Chapter 2 – General Powers

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