BEIRUT — A letter signed by 120 individuals affected by the Beirut port explosion and supported by Legal Action Worldwide was sent on Monday to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, requesting a UN led fact-finding mission into the tragedy.
Here’s what we know:
• The letter asked Bachelet to “dispatch investigators to probe human rights violations related to the Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people, injured 7,000 and left 150 people disabled.”
• Over 19 months since the explosion, the investigation launched by the Lebanese state in the aftermath of the blast has not yet published any findings, the letter stated. Politicians summoned as part of the probe have filed complaints against the judge leading the investigation, Tarek Bitar, in an attempt to suspend him. Efforts to bring sitting MPs in for questioning under the probe have been hindered by their parliamentary immunity, while in other cases the questioning of officials is subject to ministerial approval.
• Antonia Mulvey, LAW’s executive director, said: “Victims, and the families of those killed, have lived in limbo for 19 months. While others are able to move on and rebuild their lives, the families destroyed by the Beirut Port Explosion cannot. They cannot move forward with their lives until they know how and why this was allowed to happen. It is clear that the domestic investigation will not deliver these answers, and now victims and families turn to the High Commissioner to request her support in their pursuit of truth and justice.”