Human rights organizations, call on UN to investigate Beirut explosion

Human rights organizations, call on UN to investigate Beirut explosion

Human rights organizations, families of victims call on UN to investigate the Beirut explosion

145 Lebanese and international human rights organizations, survivors and families of victims of the Beirut Port explosion called on the United Nations Human Rights Council Wednesday to establish an independent and impartial international investigation mission, amid fears of increasing political pressure on the local investigation.

On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion in the Port of Beirut killed at least 214 people and injured over 6,500 others, in addition to causing extensive damage to the port and neighborhoods in the capital, which authorities blamed on the storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate without safety measures. It was later revealed that officials at various government agencies, security, and the courts were aware of the dangers of holding this drug yet did nothing about it.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were among the signatories to a joint letter calling for “the establishment of an independent and impartial international inquiry mission along the lines of a one-year reality mission.”

Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the families of the victims and survivors “again appeal to the Human Rights Council to immediately establish an investigation mission into the Lebanese state’s failure to protect their rights.”

“More than a year after the explosion, Lebanese officials continue to obstruct, delay and undermine the local investigation,” she said.

Since the explosion, Lebanon has rejected calls for an international investigation. French and US investigators participated in the preliminary investigations independently.

In June, 115 organizations and representatives of victims’ families and survivors sent a similar message.

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