ALEF-act for human rights, calls on the Lebanese authorities to open an impartial and independent investigation into the unlawful use of force against protesters during the August 22, 23 demonstrations.

In response to the waste management crisis, Lebanese citizens have demonstrated over the weekend in protest to the government ineffectiveness in finding solutions to the crisis. Demonstrations were countered with excessive and disproportionate use of force leading to hundreds of injured and hospitalized citizens. Demonstrators were dispersed without prior warning with less-lethal weapons such as tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets; in addition to lethal weapon such as live bullets and shotguns shells. On the other hand, demonstrators have deliberately destroyed public and private property affecting individuals and the state services.

Law enforcement officials have also violated the “ISF Code of Conduct”, the Code of Criminal Procedures and Law 17/1990 on the use of firearms. Law enforcement conduct in relation to the use of firearms, and the rights of suspects and detainees were not respected. To date such violations did not result in a transparent judicial process imposing criminal sanctions on perpetrators.

ALEF considers that the use of force used to control order has been unnecessary and disproportional in many cases. Lebanon should respect the basic principles of freedom of association by guaranteeing the right of demonstration, the control of order and the protection of private and public property. When citizens seek to express their concerns about public policies or other rights, they should not be treated with force. ALEF calls on authorities to open an impartial and independent investigation, outside the scope of military justice, and guarantee that people can exercise their right to peaceful assembly. On the other hand, ALEF calls on members of the international community, supporting the security sector in Lebanon, to appraise their initiatives and insure that due diligence is realized in projects and material assistance insuring that such assistance is not utilized for repression and should be in line with international human rights standards.