Published: 2021-09-15 14:18
Last Updated: 2021-09-19 21:01
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.
A huge explosion in the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, which the authorities attributed to the storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate without preventive measures, killed at least 214 people and injured more than 6,500 others, in addition to extensive damage to the port and neighborhoods in the capital. It later emerged that officials at several political, security and judicial levels were aware of the dangers of storing this substance and did nothing.
In a joint letter, the signatories, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, called for "the establishment of an independent and impartial international investigation mission along the lines of a one-year fact-finding 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.