Press briefing note on Lebanon
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Date: 25 October 2019
Lebanon has been experiencing its biggest spontaneous protests in over a decade, which have continued despite the package of reforms announced by the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic. Tens of thousands of peaceful protestors from all walks of life and confessions continue to unleash anger across the country against what they perceive to be decades of corruption and government mismanagement.
By and large, the conduct of security forces has been proportionate except during the night of 19 October when the UN human rights office in Lebanon documented over 100 cases of detention and ill-treatment. We understand most or all of the detainees have since been released. The Government has said it will continue to provide protection for peaceful demonstrators, while taking appropriate action against possible instigators of violence. The situation has been complicated by sporadic confrontations between protestors and politically motivated counter-protestors.
Between 17 and 24 October, four people were reportedly killed, and hundreds of injured people have been treated by the Lebanese Red Cross.
We are concerned about the dismissal of the General Manager of the National News Agency in Lebanon reportedly for covering the protests in the country. And we are looking into other cases of dismissal of employees for exercising their right to peaceful assembly.
We continue to monitor the unfolding events and we have reminded the Government of the inalienable rights of people to assemble and protest freely and peacefully, and of the need to restrict use of force to the greatest extent possible.