Lebanon marks today, August 4, 2021, the first anniversary of the deadly blast that hit Beirut port.
More than 200 people died during the explosion, while hundreds of injuries were reported.
The blast also destroyed much of Beirut’s port and devastated swaths of the capital. Some
300,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
The first anniversary came as the country witnessed an unprecedented economic and
political crisis amid mounting public outrage.
Rights groups and families of victims accuse officials of stalling the probe into the devastating port explosion.
President Michel Aoun said no one would have political cover if they were found negligent
or guilty but has not addressed accusations that officials obstruct the investigation.
Marking the anniversary, Human Rights Watch released a damning report into the disaster.
The report accused Lebanese officials, including former finance and public works and transport ministers, of having “violated the right to life” by not adequately addressing and taking care of the ammonium nitrate cargo in the years leading to the explosion.
“Official correspondence reflects, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Public Works and
Transport officials failed to adequately investigate the combustible nature of the ship’s
cargo and its danger,” the organisation’s Crisis and Conflict Director Lama Fakih said at a news conference.
“Not just the port, but also customs and army officials have ignored steps they could have
taken to destroy or clear the ammonium nitrate.”
The right group recently sent a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf
of all victims, calling for an “international, independent and impartial investigative mission.”
“We urge you to support this initiative by adopting a resolution establishing such a mission at the Human Rights Council,” the letter said.
For that to happen, a country needs to bring such a resolution before the Council. However, this has not happened yet.