More than 30 countries have issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva condemning the obstruction, interference, intimidation, and political impasse hampering Lebanon’s investigation into the August 4, 2020, explosion at Beirut’s port.
The statement, read out by the delegate representing Australia, calls on Lebanon to safeguard the independence and impartiality of its judiciary and carry out a credible and transparent investigation into the incident.
The signatories include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
They express solidarity with the victims and their families, calling on Lebanon to uphold its international human rights obligations.
The countries are urging the Lebanese authorities to provide effective remedies and reparation for harm suffered by the victims, emphasizing that these steps are crucial for accountability and access to justice for the victims and their families.
The joint statement also emphasizes the right of the Lebanese people to peacefully express their call for justice and accountability, calling on the authorities to respect this right.
The statement is considered a first step towards forming an international fact-finding committee on the crime, which will continue during the next session of the Human Rights Council in June 2023.
The aim is to issue a decision by the Council to form an international fact-finding committee on the crime, given the continued suspension of the internal investigation, intervention to obstruct justice, and the approach of impunity dominating the principles of accountability and justice.
The Lebanese government’s handling of the aftermath has been criticized for its lack of transparency and accountability.