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ECONOMIC CRISIS

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights lambasts "failing" Lebanese government

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights lambasts

United Nations Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter presents the preliminary findings of a two-month mission in the EU in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 29, 2021. (Credit: Johanna Geron/Reuters)

BEIRUT — The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, in a press conference on Friday after a 12-day visit to Lebanon criticized “the last chance government’s” inaction in the face of the unprecedented economic crisis and called for it to prevent full failure of the state which is currently in the process of failing.

Here’s what we know:

    • De Schutter said that while the country’s “manufactured crisis” has ruined the lives of many, the government is wasting precious time as officials spend their time “evading accountability and scapegoating refugees from the comfort of their offices.” (Also on Friday, President Michel Aoun had called on the European Union to help return refugees to Syria).

    • De Schutter also criticized the tax system which “rewards the banking sector, encourages tax evasion and concentrates wealth in the hands of a few.” He added that ”the donor community is running out of patience with the Lebanese government after losing $240 millon to the scam of arbitrary and unfavorable exchange rates,” referring to the substantial capture of the value of incoming aid money by the banking system during the crisis in programs in which beneficiaries were paid out in lira at a rate far below the parallel market rate.

    • The UN official said that during his visit he had met with nine ministers as well as with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and discussed the challenges facing the government. He likened the current cabinet to a caretaker government because of its failure to meet and take decisions following disagreements over the role of Judge Tarek Bitar in the port blast investigation. Today marks one month since the cabinet’s last meeting.

    • Lebanon’s economic crisis which has pushed thousands of highly qualified workers and students to leave the country because of their inability to sustain themselves in a country that is falling on almost all fronts.


BEIRUT — The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, in a press conference on Friday after a 12-day visit to Lebanon criticized “the last chance government’s” inaction in the face of the unprecedented economic crisis and called for it to prevent full failure of the state which is currently in the process of failing.Here’s what we know: ...