News

UN experts, NGOs urge international probe into Beirut blast

August 3, 2022 10:57 PM


United Nations experts and top NGOs urged the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday to launch an international investigation into the deadly Beirut port blast, on the eve of its two-year anniversary.

The August 4, 2020 mega-blast killed more than 200 people and destroyed swathes of the Lebanese capital, after a stockpile of haphazardly stored ammonium nitrate fertiliser caught fire at the port.

Relatives of blast victims have pressed for justice and accountability for two years but the local probe has been paused since December due to political pressure.

"This tragedy marked one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in recent memory, yet the world has done nothing to find out why it happened," the six UN experts said.

"On the second anniversary of the blast, we are disheartened that people in Lebanon still await justice, and we call for an international investigation to be initiated without delay."

The blast shocked a population already reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis, and is widely blamed on the negligence and mismanagement of Lebanese authorities.

The lead investigator, Tarek Bitar, who was chasing after some of Lebanon's top brass, has been barred from proceeding after politicians he summoned for questioning filed a series of lawsuits against him.

The victims' families have appealed to the international community to set up an independent investigation under the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

They hope such an inquiry would give them the answers that Lebanese authorities have failed to provide, said the experts, who do not speak for the UN but report their findings to it.

The explosion and its aftermath have brought into focus systemic problems of negligent governance and widespread corruption, the experts said.

The next Human Rights Council session starts on September 13.

The Council "should pass a resolution... to create an impartial fact-finding mission into the Beirut port explosion", said 11 local and international NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

"It is now, more than ever, clear that the domestic investigation cannot deliver justice," the NGOs said in a joint statement.

Lawmakers of the Lebanese Forces, the biggest Christian bloc in parliament, also pressed the UN on Wednesday to launch an international probe.

In Rome, Pope Francis extended his sympathy to Lebanese ahead of the blast anniversary.

"I hope that Lebanon, with the help of the international community, will continue on the path of rebirth," he said.

 

 



Most Read

  1. Yet another burden on people: Govt hikes oil prices Yet another burden on people: Govt hikes oil prices
  2. Nadeem Mahboob named federal health secretary Nadeem Mahboob named federal health secretary
  3. Public reacts to Bohemia's music video ‘Salsa’ starring Sistrology Public reacts to Bohemia's music video ‘Salsa’ starring Sistrology
  4. Palestinian Embassy denounces fake news of orphan adoption in Pakistan Palestinian Embassy denounces fake news of orphan adoption in Pakistan
  5. Saudis offered PIA, airports, joint ventures to build five-star hotels Saudis offered PIA, airports, joint ventures to build five-star hotels
  6. Team formed to probe woman’s death after tortured by cop on train Team formed to probe woman’s death after tortured by cop on train

Opinion

  1. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  2. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  3. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  5. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan
    Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan

    By Dr Asif Channer