Today, August 3rd, UN experts called on the Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the massive explosion in Beirut two years ago that killed over 234 people and decimated a vast swath of the Lebanese capital city, saying victims must receive justice and accountability.
“This tragedy marked one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in recent memory,” the experts said, “yet the world has done nothing to find out why it happened.”
“On the second anniversary of the blast, we are disheartened that people in Lebanon continue to wait for justice, and we demand that an international investigation be launched without delay,” they added.
On 4 August 2020, a stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse exploded, destroying 77,000 apartments, injuring 7,000 people, displacing over 300,000 more, and leaving at least 80,000 children homeless.
Shortly after the explosion, 37 UN human rights experts issued a joint statement urging the government and the international community to respond to calls for justice and restitution in a timely and effective manner.
Families of the victims have thus petitioned the international community to launch an independent investigation through the Human Rights Council, hoping that an inquiry mandated through this multilateral system will provide them with the answers that the Lebanese authorities have failed to provide.
According to experts, the Beirut Blast and its aftermath have highlighted systemic issues of negligent governance and widespread corruption.
Human rights experts who recently visited Lebanon discovered that responsibility for the explosion has yet to be determined, affected areas remain in ruins, and international reconstruction funds have only just begun to reach beneficiaries.
Some countries promised to help people in Lebanon after the explosion but did not do enough to deliver justice or launch an international investigation, according to experts.