Rome – The International Federation for Rights and Development (IFRD) today warned against the return of security repression of the widespread protests in Lebanon, stressing the obligation of the authorities to protect the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression.
The Rome-based International Federation said in a press release that resorting to excessive use against peaceful demonstrators is a matter of concern and threatens to escalate the cycle of violence in Lebanon in light of its severe economic difficulties.
Security and medical sources said that a protester was killed in “riots” and dozens were injured during the past two days, as the collapse of the Lebanese pound, the increase in inflation and the rise in unemployment contributed to the difficulties of Lebanon, which is suffering a severe financial crisis.
The closure of businesses and the cessation of public activities to limit the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated economic hardships.
Dozens of demonstrators in several Lebanese cities have burned and broken banks, set fire to an army vehicle, and threw stones and crackers at the army, which used live and rubber bullets and tear gas against them.
These developments threaten the return of the unrest to Lebanon, which witnessed the beginning of October 17, 2019, widespread anti-government protests focused on demanding the improvement of social, economic, civil and political rights.
The International Federation emphasized the obligation of the Lebanese authorities to protect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly under international human rights law and relevant conventions and agreements.
She stressed the obligation of the Lebanese security forces responsible for law enforcement to “the basic United Nations rules on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials,” which state that law enforcement personnel must use non-violent means before resorting to force.
She cautioned that firearms should not be used merely to disperse peaceful gatherings and to resort in extremely restricted situations to using the minimum force necessary to contain the case.
The International Federation for Rights and Development (IFRD) has also urged the authorities to open investigations into incidents in which security forces kill or injure people with firearms, through independent administrative or judicial procedures, announce the results publicly, and hold those responsible to account.