Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter
Lebanon is immersed in one of the worst economic and financial crises in history. The destruction of the national currency, exorbitant price increases and the collapse of the banking sector have led to the generalized impoverishment of the population amid sectarian political stasis. With most of the population now hoping to leave the country, those who stay and endure the consequences have been pushed to the brink.
The Lebanese State, including its Central Bank, is responsible for human rights violations, including the unnecessary immiseration of the population, that have resulted from this man-made crisis. Pre-crisis Lebanon was already characterized by appalling levels of wealth concentration at the top; tax policies that favour evasion and benefit the wealthy; chronically neglected public education and health-care services; an inadequate social protection system; and a failed electricity sector.
Lebanon needs to change course. The misery inflicted on the population can be reversed with leadership that places social justice, transparency and accountability at the core of its actions. The international community can and should provide support, but such support will only have an impact if structural reforms are adopted to put an end to the process of impoverishment.