Lebanon: UN rights office calls for de-escalation of protest violence

Jamil Karam Demostration in Lebanon

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


What had been largely peaceful demonstrations against Lebanon’s Government in the capital Beirut grew increasingly violent over the weekend, sparking the concern of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Some demonstrators have resorted to using violence to express their grievances, and security forces have responded, at times, with unnecessary or disproportionate use of force”, rights office (OHCHR) Spokesperson, Marta Hurtado, told journalists on Tuesday in Geneva.

“We call on actors to do their utmost to de-escalate the situation and upon authorities to deploy efforts to establish a meaningful and inclusive dialogue with all segments of society”.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in October, less than two weeks after protests began over a worsening financial crisis, unemployment and widespread political corruption. Since then, politicians have been unable to agree a new government.

Over the weekend, protesters in Beirut reportedly attempted to overrun the Parliament building, throwing rocks and firecrackers at Internal Security Forces (ISF).

“Bank offices and shops were vandalized, and public property destroyed”, Ms. Hurtado elaborated.

For their part, ISF officers responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets amidst reports of disproportionate use of force.

Protesters shot

Citing “reliable sources”, the OHCHR spokesperson said that “at least four young men were shot at close range with rubber bullets leading to severe and irreversible damage to their eyes”.

Meanwhile, combined data from the Lebanese Red Cross and Civil Defence authorities, suggests that at least 377 people – 142 of whom were law enforcement officers – were injured on Saturday and another 90 on Sunday.

“Law enforcement officers have an obligation to abide by international norms and standards on the use of force, particularly the principles of legality and proportionality”, stated Ms. Hurtado.

‘Fundamental pillars’ of democracy

OHCHR welcomed the statement by the ISF commander acknowledging the importance of acting with restraint when confronting violent protesters, and of the need to protect journalists and peaceful protesters.

“People have the right to participate in public affairs and shape all decisions that affect their lives, including by peacefully assembling to express their concerns”, spelled out Ms. Hurtado. “The rights to freedom of expression and opinion – including the right to give and receive information – to peaceful assembly and to participate are fundamental pillars of a democratic society”.

She added that “demonstrators should exercise this right peacefully and assemble without resorting to violence”.

De-escalation needed

Information received by the UN Human Rights Regional Office in the Middle East and North Africa indicates that 45 people were arrested over the weekend, most of whom have been released.

Some protesters said they were severely beaten during their arrest and subsequent interrogation.

“We also call on the authorities to conduct prompt, thorough, independent, transparent and impartial investigations into alleged use of force violations committed during the latest outbreaks of violence and ill-treatment during arrest and detention”.

Noting that victims and their families have “a right to justice, truth and reparations”, Ms. Hurtado concluded by encouraging political actors to “respond to the legitimate aspirations of the people”; to speed up efforts to form a stable, all-inclusive and respected Government able to address grievances; and listen to the demands of those suffering the effects of a severe and deepening economic crisis.

International Support Group weighs in

Six weeks after an enlarged International Support Group (ISG) meeting in Paris on 11 December, it met again in Beirut at the Ambassadorial level on Tuesday.

The ISG, which was launched in September 2013 and has brought together the UN, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, the European Union and the Arab League, noted with deep concern the ongoing absence of a functioning government.

And it expressed alarm over the situation that is increasingly marked by growing violence.

“The longer the absence of an effective and credible government capable to meet the aspirations expressed by all the Lebanese that will have the capacity and credibility to deliver the necessary substantive policy package of economic reforms, and that will be committed to disassociate the country from regional tensions and crisis, the more hardships the population will suffer, the more security risks and instability the country will face”, the ISG said in a statement.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

Young people meet in Malta to shape the future of Europe

Iraq: Over 150,000 children endangered by ‘freezing’ temperatures, warns UNICEF

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

IMF: When high yield goes boom

Climate adaptation could make the world more peaceful

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

UN Chief ‘strongly rejects’ Guatemala decision to expel anti-corruption body

G20 GDP growth nudges up to 1.0% in the second quarter of 2018

Huge data gaps’ hampering ‘evidence-based’ national migration policies

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

In DR Congo, UN Security Council says December polls are ‘historic opportunity’ for country

Nauru President warns of possible climate change ‘economic Armageddon’

The last goodbye of JADE’s Executive Board 2019

The revenge of the fallen

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa on 16-18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

EU allocates €50 million to fight Ebola and malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

Brexit negotiations: Can May’s Britain bounce back?

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Real EU unemployment rate at 10.2%+4.1%+4.7%: Eurostat Update

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

Seaweed, enzymes and compostable cups: Can ‘Big Food’ take on plastic and win?

Sweden must urgently implement reforms to boost fight against foreign bribery

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

UN expert ‘shocked’ by Egyptian reprisals against human rights defenders she met

What’s happening to Greenland will affect the whole world – and our leaders need to understand why

Claude Akpokavie, Senior ILO Adviser:“Engaging in policy debates and organizing workers, are two key challenges faced by unions in Export processing zones”

This 12-year-old built an underwater robot to fight plastic pollution

Saudi Arabia expresses ‘regret and pain’ over Khashoggi killing, during UN rights review

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

UN agency chiefs condemn Saudi-coalition led air strike that killed dozens in western Yemen

The EU approves a new package of budget assistance to the Republic of Moldova to support rule of law and rural development reforms

EU supports recovery and resilience in Nigeria with additional €50 million

Protecting farmers and quality products: vote on EU farm policy reform plans

Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

Costa Coffee products (Copyright: Costa Coffee; Source: Costa Coffee website, Press area)

The start of the “Caffeine rush”: Coca-Cola acquires Costa Coffee days after Nestlé-Starbucks deal

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The Government of China and UNIDO partner to develop technical guidelines for standards of small hydropower development

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

The Commission tells Berlin it is legally obliged to help Eurozone out of stagnation

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

More refugees being helped by family, work and study permits, finds OECD and UNHCR study

EU unveils plan to accelerate Capital Markets Union ahead of London’s departure from the bloc

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Six ways to cut through the Middle East’s geopolitical fog

Boardroom warriors: how CEOs are becoming champions of change

New state aid rules: Commission increases national support to farmers up to €25,000

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s