'Lebanese state violated human rights': UN Poverty Rapporteur

'Lebanese state violated human rights': UN Poverty Rapporteur
The UN Special Rapporteur accused politicians and the central bank of contributing to corruption and inequality in Lebanon.
2 min read
11 May, 2022
The UN said that the Lebanese Central Bank brought the state into "contravention of its international obligations." [Getty]

The UN said that the Lebanese state and the Central Bank (BDL) are "responsible for human rights violations" in a report on poverty published on Wednesday.

The report was issued following the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights to Lebanon.

It condemned the "unnecessary immersion of the population that has resulted from this man-made crisis." The report also urged a change of course and for the country's leadership to place "social justice, transparency and accountability at the core of its actions."

The report was unusual for its harsh wording and its implication of the BDL in the human rights violations which occurred in the wake of the economic crisis.

Live Story

Lebanon is currently mired in what the World Bank calls one of the world's worst economic crises since 1850. Following a banking crisis in 2019, Lebanon’s banks froze most small and medium depositors' accounts, in effect confiscating the savings of most ordinary Lebanese.

The subsequent financial meltdown pushed over two-thirds of the population into poverty, spurred hyperinflation of basic goods and a near cessation in many public services, such as electricity.

The rapporteur's report identified three actions by the BDL that "brought the Lebanese State into clear contravention of its international obligations, including the obligation to guarantee an adequate standard of living to its population."

Live Story

It said that the BDL's lack of transparency, propping up of the fixed exchange rate of 1,500 Lebanese lira to the US dollar and maintaining multiple exchange rates have "contributed to … a devastation of the economy … and plunging the population into poverty."

The long-standing governor of the BDL, Riad Salameh, is under investigation in Lebanon and five other European countries for the alleged embezzlement of $US 330 million from public sector coffers.

The report also condemned collaboration between politicians and private sectors, which it said contributed to corruption and inequality.