Human rights group Euro-Med calls for Lebanon probe into Tripoli boat tragedy
Lebanese authorities must open an immediate and independent investigation into the capsizing of a boat carrying migrants off the coast of Tripoli that killed at least seven people, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said Sunday.
A dinghy carrying Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian migrants sank late on Saturday off the coast near Tripoli, allegedly after Lebanese naval forces rammed the vessel as the smuggler tried to evade capture.
With dozens possibly dead and Lebanese authorities denying any role in the sinking, rights groups are demanding a full probe into the deadly capsizing.
"It is necessary to open an independent and impartial investigation to determine and reveal the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the boat, and to take all necessary legal action to prevent this from happening again," said Anas Jerjawi, Director of Operations at the human rights monitoring group.
"The incident was a reminder of the despair many Lebanese people are living in as a result of the unprecedented and deteriorating socioeconomic conditions, as they are ready more than ever to risk their lives on dangerous journeys to escape the difficult reality they have been living in for years."
The families of those who died held funerals in Tripoli on Monday, while rescue efforts continued to find dozens still missing.
The United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates the dinghy was carrying 80 people at the time it capsized. The Euro-Med said on Sunday that the boat was carrying 75 people.
Lebanese authorities say 47 people were rescued, leaving around two dozen still unaccounted for.
A Palestinian activist in Tripoli told The New Arab that among the victims were Syrian and Palestinian children, but it remains unclear how many passengers were onboard.