Report: Concerns Over the State of Emergency in Lebanon

Report Summary

The analysis in this paper demonstrates that the process followed by the Lebanese government to declare a State of Emergency on 5 August was incompatible with the requirements of both national and international law, and that some contents of the State of Emergency declaration violated Lebanon’s obligations under international law. Its imposition and extension raise serious concerns around potential human rights violations.  

Moreover, the imposition of a State of Emergency in Lebanon has not been effective as a method of ensuring law, order and security – ostensibly the purpose it was introduced for. The transfer of responsibility for security to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has had the overall effect of making the application of the law unpredictable and inconsistent, has not been accompanied with clear command and coordination structures, and has likely contributed to escalated tensions with communities, further undermining human security throughout the country.  

The report is a result of research carried out in August and early SeptemberThe recent decision on 14 September 2020 to apparently extend the state of emergency is therefore not formally included in this research. However, it confirms, rather than assuages, the concerns raised herein and further heightens the potential human rights risks that this report, as well as numerous other commentators, have voiced.  

The lack of clarity that the 14 September decision provides is striking, and is unlikely to improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, the access to resources by affected communities, nor the human security of those most vulnerable in the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion. Finally, it adds greater urgency to the recommendations of this report. The need for effective, credible, and transparent accountability of security agencies, and ultimately the entire public sector in Lebanon, remains paramount. 

Click here to download the full report containing our initial assessment of the declared State of Emergency in August 2020 in terms of its legal shortcomings and its potential threat to both human rights and human security in Lebanon.