Baroud Suspends Sect Registration at Population Registry

Beirut, Lebanon - Interior Minister Ziad Baroud issued a general instruction allowing Lebanese not to declare their sect at population registries.

"Requests made by citizens not to declare their religious sect or to remove it from their personal identity registration should be respected," Baroud's general instruct read.

The minister added that this right was guaranteed by the constitution and by the international declaration for human rights, and other international agreements that Lebanon is party to.

He sited article 9 of the Lebanese constitution that guarantees freedom of religious belief.

Various Lebanese civil societies and political parties have been fighting for a civil law regarding citizenship status, in particular the recognition of civil marriage.

Baroud was an active member of civil society prior to becoming Interior minister.