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Reverse Culture of Impunity and Support Investigation into Beirut Blast

Scenes from Lebanon shocked residents and the world on Thursday when the streets of a residential and commercial district in Beirut descended into a level of violence last seen during the country’s the civil war: Families sheltering in hallways,…
Lebanese army soldiers are seen through the bullet-riddled window of a car after deadly clashes erupted in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.
News

Fresh Action Needed Six Years After Gui Minhai’s Kidnapping

This week marks the sixth anniversary since Chinese authorities abducted Gui Minhai, a Swedish book publisher, from his home in Thailand in 2015. After enduring a forced confession on state media and a sham trial, Gui was briefly freed in 2017, before…
Protesters stick photos of Gui Minhai, left, and other missing booksellers outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong on January 3, 2016.
News

Resolution Expresses Alarm at Lebanon’s Man-Made Disaster

This week the European Parliament heeded calls from survivors of the August 2020 Beirut blast, families of the victims, and many human rights groups to establish an international, independent fact-finding mission within the United Nations framework…
The Lebanese Association of Lawyers march at the First Anniversary of Port Blast, Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2021.
News

25 Members of Congress call for UN-led investigation

A group of US lawmakers have called on the Biden administration to support a United Nations-led investigation into the catastrophic blast at Beirut’s port on August 4, 2020. The chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee and 24 other…
Lebanon One Year Later Explosion Call Investigation
News

Governments Should Bolster Respect for Landmark Arms Ban

Governments should reinforce the global ban on chemical weapons by suspending the rights and privileges of Syria, a party to the treaty that has violated it with impunity for years.  This week, states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

All Countries Should Urgently Repatriate Citizens

On the surface, it seems like a happy ending: a 4-year-old Canadian girl is flown home to Canada on Sunday after living the first half of her life under the Islamic State (ISIS) and the second in a squalid detention camp in northeast Syria. But her…
A 4-year-old Canadian girl after her rescue from a detention camp
News

Limited Community Outreach Blunts Impact of Accountability Efforts

A German court in the town of Koblenz this week will render its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian officials for atrocities during Syria’s decade-long brutal armed conflict. The two accused in the case are an alleged former…
Photos of Syrians who have been detained or disappeared set up by Families for Freedom, as part of a protest in front of the court in Koblenz, July 2, 2020. 
News

Follows Netherlands Government’s Decision to Halt Adoptions

A recent inquiry in the Netherlands into intercountry adoptions uncovered such damning abuses that the government froze all overseas adoptions. Following the Dutch investigation, the Swedish Family Law and Parental Support Authority, the agency…
Vy över Sveriges parlament (riksdag) i Stockholm den 9 april 2006.
News

Floundering Government Finds New Ways to Confiscate Wealth of Syrian Citizens

On February 2, Syria’s Ministry for Media and Information posted a video in which Colonel Elias al-Bitar, head of the army’s Exemptions and Reserves Branch, informed the country of an amendment that allows authorities to seize the property of “…
A Syrian flag flies in the city of Maarat al-Numan, near Idlib, Syria, February 12, 2020.
News

Nearly Six Months Later, Victims Still Await Answers

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, as I was wrapping up a conference call with a colleague, I started to feel small vibrations and my desk began to wobble. An earthquake, I thought. We experience them from time to time in Lebanon, and normally such a…
Aftermath of the explosion in Beirut’s port that devastated the city, killing more than 200 people, injuring more than 6,000, and leaving 300,000 people without shelter.
News

Is Public-Centered Aid Disbursement Possible?

People living in countries with extensive government corruption are often most in need of financial assistance. But their governments generally leave donor countries and international financial institutions with three bad options: rely on leaky…
Aid from the European Union is being unloaded from a cargo plane at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport on September 12, 2020.
News

Reflections on International Anti-Corruption Day

The recent passing of James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank from 1995 to 2005, offers a moment to reflect on global progress in the fight against corruption. That his 1996 speech decrying the “cancer of corruption” broke a taboo offers a benchmark…
Business Trap Corruption Graphic
News

Emergency Social Safety Net Should Be Developed, Communicated, and Rolled Out Without Delay

Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council is discussing today new measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, which has seen an alarming surge in new cases and related deaths in recent weeks. The ministerial Covid-19 committee, as well as…
A street vendor pushes his cart in Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, wearing a face mask to try to protect against the spread of COVID-19, in Beirut suburbs, Lebanon, March 30, 2020.
News

A Positive Step, but Thousands Still Held Incommunicado

On November 4, local news outlets reported that the Syrian government had released over 60 individuals from detention facilities in southern Syria and Damascus. While not the first such release, the news is a positive development in an area where…
A checkpoint in the Syrian city of Daraa.
News

Ziad Itani’s Case Presents Worrying Signs for Rights

Ziad Itani, a well-known Lebanese actor, will be questioned by an investigative judge today in relation to a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by two State Security officials. Itani has accused Lebanon’s State Security of forcibly…
Ziad Itani, a Lebanese actor, who was exonerated of spying for Israel, is carried after he was released by Lebanese authorities. Itani has accused security officials of torturing him and has called on authorities to investigate.
News

Ottawa Should Repatriate 46 Others Held in Northeast Syria

After months of inaction, the Canadian government announced Monday that it had repatriated a 5-year-old orphan, Amira, who was trapped in a camp for Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members in northeast Syria. Amira’s overdue rescue should not…
A girl stands in front of a chainlink fence
News

New Government Policy Prevents Syrians from Returning Home

The Syrian government insists that each Syrian national entering Syria must exchange US$100 for Syrian pounds at the official rate. The policy was put in place in July, ostensibly to help the government replete its foreign currency reserves amid an…
Members of the Lebanese General Security Directorate oversee Syrian refugees boarding a bus to take them home to Syria, in the northern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
News

Beirut Blast Damaged Country’s Waste Management Infrastructure

Beirut’s port explosion, which killed 212 people and obliterated large parts of the city on August 4, has put additional strains on Lebanon’s already compromised ability to manage its waste. The rubble and demolition debris alone vastly increased…
A beach where a heavy winds and strong waves washed ashore piles of garbage in Keserwan, north of Beirut, Lebanon, on 23 January 2018.
News

Accountability Still Needed for Excessive Force During August Protests

The Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), in a letter to Human Rights Watch, has denied their members used live ammunition, rubber bullets, or metal pellets during the August 8 protest in downtown Beirut. Instead, the ISF pointed to the Parliament…
A policeman strikes a protester during anti-government demonstrations on August 8, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon.
News

Port Explosion Led to Increased Homelessness of Workers Abandoned by Employers

More than a month since the devastating port explosion in Beirut, the situation for many of the estimated 250,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon has gone from dire to catastrophic. The explosion happened amidst an economic crisis that worsened…
An Ethiopian domestic worker waits in front of the Ethiopian consulate after she and others were abandoned by their Lebanese employers, in Hazmieh, east of Beirut, Lebanon, June 4, 2020.