MP Georges Atallah (Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Koura) has proposed a law that would exclude non-Lebanese victims of the Beirut Port explosion from the state’s compensation plan.
Since the explosion almost a year ago, people have been waiting for any kind of compensation from the Lebanese government – which was negligent in allowing the storing of the highly dangerous materials in the port, and leaving them poorly stored for years.
The law proposal is controversial at best. Among casualties of the blast, there are foreigners from at least 22 countries, including a German embassy employee, and at least 40 French citizens.
At least 108 Bangladeshi nationals were injured in the blast as well as several members of the UNIFIL. Scores of refugees in Lebanon were also impacted, and at least 34 were reported dead or missing. All would be excluded from their right to compensation.
With this law, the family of 2-year-old Isaac Oehlers, the youngest blast victim, would not be compensated because they are Australian.
What Atallah is proposing will strip foreigners, including Syrian families and migrant workers who were hit by the blast, from compensation for the harm and damage caused by the negligence of the government leading to the explosion.
The Lebanese Center for Human Rights, Centre Libanais des Droits Humains (CLDH), is calling for immediate withdrawal of the proposal, saying it “contains gross human rights violations.”
“This proposal violates the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as it discriminates against non-Lebanese and stateless persons,” CLDH indicated.
“Everyone has the right to compensation for any damage caused by the negligence of the governing authorities,” added the NGO.