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Is the Lebanese state fulfilling its obligations to International Agreements?

Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights divides civil and political rights – such as the right to life and freedom from torture – and economic, social and cultural rights – such as the right to health or education, into two separate international treaties, human rights are indivisible. All rights are equal – no set of rights is more important than others – and the denial of one right often impedes the enjoyment of other rights.

While a state’s obligations in relation to civil and political rights are often absolute and immediate, states are generally required to seek the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights. This distinction is due to the recognition that often greater resources are required to realize these rights. However, this does not absolve Lebanon of its responsibilities. Neither set of rights can be evaded, and authorities are still obligated to show that they are taking steps to realize economic, social and cultural rights.

The Lebanese state has always found flimsy excuses for not fulfilling these obligations, due to lack of money or instability. However, these excuses remain hollow. The civil war ended nearly 30 years ago, and Lebanon has the wealth, expertise, and international support to make progress in the areas of education, health, and basic services. But with time without improvement, the population turned to private initiatives, and the country was caught in a cycle of low expectations and poor outcomes in terms of basic rights.

Successive crises in the country

Lebanon endured multiple crises, including a massive explosion in Beirut’s port, an economic collapse, rising political instability, and the Covid-19 global pandemic. The Lebanese authorities’ corruption and failure to address these crises have resulted in a drastic deterioration of rights. The economic crisis and Covid-19 pandemic have endangered the ability of hospitals to provide life-saving care. Electricity blackouts are becoming common, sometimes lasting up to 22 hours per day. Women continue to face systematic discrimination and violence

Successive crises in Lebanon, perhaps the worst of which is the collapse of the national currency where it lost more than 85 per cent of its value, which portends an overall collapse that could produce

Very difficult days for Lebanon while the people under economic crisis are the worst in its history coinciding with political blockage this hampers many of the services provided to citizens and drives the county to the total collapse.

There is more than one factor behind the economic crisis in Lebanon, including the policies adopted in the nineties of the last century when the government established a monetary rent policy that gives room for services at the expense of the productive economy 

The second reason is corruption and systematic looting of the Lebanese state treasury. There are reports that some 52 billion has been from the state treasury nobody knows how it was dissipated.  what is required from criminal scrutiny is to follow the course of those looted funds. However there is political class that has looting the country since 30 years does not want this criminal scrutiny to take place so it is manipulating the dollars and the fate of the people and they hope to receive a general amnesty for the financial crimes that have occurred in Lebanon since 1990s and even today.

The political class is not willing to make any concessions in order to improve the economic and social situation putting more pressure on poor people taking the country to a massive collapse.

With each passing day, the lives of Lebanese, migrants and refugees become unbearable. But the political elite still haggle over dividing the diminishing spoils to enrich themselves and impoverish the country.”

With the Lebanese currency losing its value, the prices of basic commodities are rising rapidly, undermining the ability of individuals to afford food, shelter, and health care. The corona virus outbreak has exacerbated poverty and economic distress and has disproportionately affected marginalized groups, including low-income families, individuals with disabilities, migrants, and refugees.

Even Lebanon’s leaders have not yet been able to form a government. Instead, these same political leaders continue business as usual and prioritize sectarian and clientelistic considerations as the country collapses.

Easing the pressure on Lebanon’s leaders now could entrench the corruption of the political system that France helped create throughout history, and lend credence to their claims that there is no alternative. It may also add to the frustration of angry and disenfranchised citizens who are increasingly choosing to emigrate as they begin to lose hope in the future.

 A better future in the country:

If Lebanese leaders can escape accountability when half of the capital has imploded, they will have no regrets about undermining reform initiatives and continue to steal the fortunes of the Lebanese wholesale as the country heads toward economic collapse.

Finally, International community should start imposing sanctions on members of the political class who have rendered the domestic judicial system impotent. Perpetrators leaders should be punished against whom there credible evidence of corruption is leading to human rights abuses, share that evidence publicly, and begin the process of recovering funds. However, if the international community is serious about combating “systematic corruption in Lebanon” and supporting the Lebanese people’s calls for reform and accountability, sanctions should target those responsible for violations, regardless of their position in the political scene.

Such an approach will demonstrate to members of the political class that they will pay a real price for decades of abuse, and it will give way to leaders who really want to begin restoring and restoring rights, undermined for decades under the current political class.

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