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PORT BLAST

Port blast survivors call for UN fact-finding mission into Aug. 4 explosion

Port blast survivors call for UN fact-finding mission into Aug. 4 explosion

Aug. 4 will be a national holiday in mourning for the 2020 Beirut port blast. (Credit: João Sousa/L’Orient Today)

BEIRUT — Survivors of the Aug. 4, 2020 port explosion and some international organizations called on the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday, a day before the second anniversary of the blast, to enact an “independent and impartial fact-finding mission” into what they called a “tragedy of historic proportions.”

Here’s what we know:

    • In their statement, signatories also said that “Lebanese authorities have repeatedly obstructed the course of the domestic investigation into the explosion by shielding politicians and officials implicated in the explosion from questioning, prosecution, and arrest. The latest requests to remove the head of the port blast investigation judge Tarek Bitar have resulted in the suspension of the investigation since December 23, 2021.”

    • “It is now, more than ever, clear that the domestic investigation cannot deliver justice, making the establishment of an international fact-finding mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council all the more urgent,” the statement also said.

    • "I am still breathing, but I am dead inside,” Mireille Khoury, the mother of Elias Khoury, who was killed by the explosion at the age of 15, said in the statement. “It is my right to know why my son was taken away from me [and] who was responsible. This is my son's and my right. So far, Lebanon and the international community have failed us, the victims of the survivors of the explosion."

    • Survivors and family members of the victims previously sent two letters to the member and observer states of the Human Rights Council urging them to support a resolution establishing an international investigation. They sent another letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in March 2022, which remains unanswered. “The international community has failed to heed their demands [and] the importance of uncovering the truth behind the Beirut Port Explosion, to break the cycle of impunity and recurrence at a crucial juncture in Lebanon’s history,” Wednesday’s statement also said.

    • The statement went on to say: “The Beirut explosion was a tragedy of historic proportions, arising from failure to protect the fundamental right to life – and its impact will be felt for far longer than it takes to physically rebuild the city. Establishing the truth of what happened on August 4, 2020 is the critical foundation for providing redress and rebuilding after the devastation of that day as well as to reduce the chance of similar catastrophic failures arising again in [the] future.”


BEIRUT — Survivors of the Aug. 4, 2020 port explosion and some international organizations called on the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday, a day before the second anniversary of the blast, to enact an “independent and impartial fact-finding mission” into what they called a “tragedy of historic proportions.”Here’s what we know:    • In their statement, signatories also...