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University of Balamand > News > Archive > Internet & Human Rights

Ibrahim Najjar on Internet and Human Rights

In a visit to Balamand on March 19, former Minister of Justice Ibrahim Najjar expressed his admiration for the University’s commitment to human rights and cyber security, saying those interrelated issues had become very significant in our daily lives.

Addressing an audience of faculty, staff and students, Dr. Najjar said that as a lawyer he had been committed to defending human rights without necessarily having seen that commitment expressed in those terms.

“On my first day as minister of justice, in 2008, I was handed a file, signed by the president, the prime minister, and a number of other officials, and was told that immediately upon my signing, a number of criminals would be placed on death row.” Rather than signing the document, Dr. Najjar presented a draft law to the cabinet to abolish the death penalty and to replace it with life in prison. “To me, this was a matter of principle.” No one, he said, should be in a position to take the life of another.

Dr. Najjar was at Balamand as a guest of the Department of Computer Science both in his capacity as a renowned legal expert and as a leading member of the Arab Observatory for Cyber Security, an institution with which the University has a collaboration agreement.

Currently a professor at USJ, Dr. Najjar is the owner and editor of The Lebanese Review of Arab and International Arbitration and the publisher of the Saint Joseph Faculty of Law journal, Proche Orient Etudes Juridiques. He is also the 2010 recipient of the National Medal for Human Rights, in recognition for his efforts toward abolishing the death penalty, and in June of 2013 he was made an officier de la Légion d'honneur by French President Francois Hollande.

In his welcoming speech, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences Jihad Attieh told the audience that the visit of Dr. Najjar underlines the growing role of the cyber world in our daily lives and the necessity to highlight relevant security issues.

In October of 2014, Balamand signed an agreement with the Arab Observatory for Cyber Security, making the University a full partner in this pioneering and first-of-a-kind initiative that underlines the growing role of the cyber world in our daily lives and the necessity to highlight relevant security issues. ​​​
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