The Lebanese Government’s response to the Port explosion was criticized. While a national plan to respond to disasters exist it was not activated in the aftermath of the blast leaving the responsibility on a 30-year-old Higher Relief Council established during the Lebanese war to help Lebanese citizens and communities hit by natural and man-made disasters before the Government declares a state of emergency giving the army significant power and allowing it to step into the response leadership vacuum.
Local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were swift in their relief efforts, however the absence of coordination among NGOs and service providers coupled with other challenges including funding, bureaucracy and access to information hindered the effectiveness of the aid and support to victims.
In addition to the poor management and coordination, the devastation caused by the August 4th blast exacerbated vulnerabilities and translated into human rights violations in several of the affected neighborhoods. Indeed, several human rights were breached or exacerbated as a result of the blast including the right to life, the right to protection, the right to security, the right to health and medical assistance, the right to a proper accommodation and environmental rights. Furthermore, the blast added another layer to the challenges faced by vulnerable women, children, Persons with Disabilities, LGBTQ+, elderly, domestic workers, migrant workers, and refugees.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) aimed at monitoring the post-blast interventions of national stakeholders and meeting with the victims to address their concerns. As a result, in this report NHRC points out systemic or wide-spread issues leading to human rights violations, identifies actions to be implemented to mitigate the risk of violations and recommends measures to improve the response to disasters and to safeguard the rights of survivors of the blast, including vulnerable groups.
NHRC-CPT Team: Fadi Gerges, Ali Youssef, Bassam AlKantar.
Research Team: Reina Sfeir, Sama Elroumi, Coralie Ziade.
Photographer: Abbas Salman
Proof Reader: Ghaleb Hashem