50 Human Rights Organizations Call for the Establishment of an International Mission to Investigate the Explosion in the Port of Beirut

Last week fifty Lebanese, regional, and international human rights organizations called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to place an international mission to investigate the explosion that hit the Beiruts port on the 4th of last August.

The Council received a joint letter addressed and signed by these organizations, including International Amnesty, in addition to 62 survivors and families of the victims of the explosion.

The signatories to the letter, published by Amnesty International, called on the council to “establish an international, independent and impartial investigation mission. Such as a one-year fact-finding mission, to investigate the explosion in the port of Beirut.”

As the organizations requested “to help this initiative by adopting a resolution to set up such a mission in the Human Rights Council.”

The letter requested, “An examination concerning whether there were disappointments in the obligation to secure the right of living that prompted the blast in the port of Beirut, and whether there were disappointments to guarantee safe stockpiling or expulsion of a lot of combustible and dangerous materials and disappointments in directing examinations.”

Among the signatories to the letter are

  • Amnesty
  • Human Rights Watch
  • The Project on Middle East Democracy
  • The Gulf Center for Human Rights.
  • The Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights.
  • The Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies.
  • The Lebanese Center for Human Rights.

In 2020, a huge explosion occurred in the port of Beirut, killing more than 200 people and wounding about 6,000 others. As well as causing massive material damage to residential buildings and commercial establishments.

According to official estimates, the explosion occurred in the 12 berths of the port, which contained about 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which had been confiscated from a ship and stored since 2014.

Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, the judicial investigator in the Beirut port explosion said that the technical investigation phase is nearing completion.

Lebanon is suffering lots of crises economically, as witnessed since October 2019, by popular protests accusing the ruling political elite of “corruption and incompetence” in managing the country.

This is how the economic crisis affected prisons, and the government denies it

Slowly, time passes as prisoners behind the bars of the prison, counting the days that they will be free. The conditions of prisoners are miserable these days due to the lack of food rations for prisoners. They also suffer in terms of overcrowding and poor services.

Roumieh prison, east of Beirut, receives approximately 4,500 detainees out of the approximately 10,000 imprisoned by the Internal Security Forces.

Absence of meat

From Roumieh prison, the problem of the quantity and quality of prisoners’ food began with the exacerbation of the economic crisis. Noting that prisoners were getting chicken meals twice a week, this percentage decreased to once every six weeks, stressing that there has been no meat in food for months.

Prisoners’ families were not allowed to bring in food after the spread of the Coronavirus. They became obligated to buy their needs from the prison store, which raised its prices significantly.

Prisoners and their families have been unable to purchase their needs from the prison store due to the high prices.

The solution to the prison problem in Lebanon lies in the issuance of a comprehensive general amnesty law. Human rights organizations have to move and work to help prisoners in Lebanon.