BEIRUT — The United Nations Children's Fund has called for an end to celebratory gunfire, which in the past two days injured four children. In a statement released Tuesday, UNICEF said that "so-called celebratory gunfire is a very dangerous tradition that needs to end.”
Here’s what we know:
• In the wake of preliminary election results Sunday, celebratory gunfire was reported across the country. This continued Monday, as final results were gradually released.
• The UN agency said that such a harmful tradition is not justifiable “under any circumstance or occasion.” It appealed to community leaders and local authorities to keep children safe at all times: “No child should be pushed to participate in, witness or be a target of acts of violence.”
• Celebratory gunfire is illegal in Lebanon. In 2016, Parliament passed Law No.71/2016 criminalizing shooting firearms into the air and punishing gunmen with prison terms ranging from six months to three years — 10 years of hard labor plus a fine if the gunfire resulted in loss of life.
• Despite this legislation, celebratory gunfire has remained a commonplace. According to Beirut-based research center Information International, between 2010 and 2021, stray bullets caused on average seven deaths and 15 injuries a year.