Rights organizations calls for UN-organized investigation of Beirut blast News
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Rights organizations calls for UN-organized investigation of Beirut blast

Human rights groups and victims’ families of the August 2020 explosion at Beirut’s shipping port called for a UN-led international investigation into human rights violations connected to the blast in a statement released on Monday. The joint letter urged member states of the UN Human Rights Council to bring forward a resolution during the current session to create an independent fact-finding mission to address obstruction by Lebanese officials into the official investigation.

The explosion on August 4, which killed at least 200 people and injured an estimated 7,000 others, is understood to be caused by the ignition of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored at the port. Less than a week after the disaster, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for an investigation into the explosion, and Lebanon’s government resigned amid widespread protests and allegations of corruption.

In 2023, a statement on behalf of 38 countries was delivered to the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern over “systemic obstruction, interference, intimidation, and a political impasse” faced by the Lebanese investigation and urging measures be taken to ensure the Lebanese judiciary’s independence and impartiality.

Rights groups, survivors and victims’ families released a similar joint letter in August 2023, emphasizing the investigation’s lack of progress and the inaction of Lebanese authorities on securing judicial freedom. “On the third anniversary of the explosion, we are no closer to justice and accountability for the catastrophe that damaged half of the capital city,” the letter said. “Instead, the Lebanese authorities have repeatedly interfered with, obstructed and undermined the domestic investigation.”

The UN Human Rights Council’s current session will continue until 12 July 2024, returning for the 57th regular session in September.