A new investigation by Amnesty has linked law enforcement equipment supplied by France with the excessive use of force deployed by security forces in Lebanon during the anti-government demonstrations, Anadolu Agency reports.
The report released by Amnesty international on Thursday, found a range of French ammunition from tear gas canisters, pepper sprays to grenade launchers, rubber bullets, and armoured vehicles used to transfer troops deployed to suppress mass protests between 2015 and 2020.
The equipment was used in large quantities particularly during massive protests which erupted across cities and villages from October 2019 and continued until August 2020 against government’s inefficiency to control rising prices, high unemployment, and corruption.
French president Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut twice, arriving two days after a massive blast of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate destroyed the city in August, that left 190 dead and 6,000 injured and later in September to personally honour legendary artist Fairouz with the Legion of Honour, the highest honour awarded to civilians in France.
Macron organised an international conference to raise funds to support Beirut and issued a six-week ultimatum to Lebanese politicians to bring in reforms and political change or face sanctions.
Amnesty pointed out France’s special responsibility towards Lebanon in view of Macron’s statements.
“The Lebanese authorities bear primary responsibility for the human rights violations committed by their security forces. However, France , as a key supplier of various law enforcement equipment, contributed to this violence through its arms transfers,” the report stated.
Amnesty has demanded French government to inform the Lebanese security forces to comply with the international standards relating to the use of force. It has also urged Paris to carry out a rigorous risk assessment and halt exports of equipment likely to be used to commit or facilitate violations of human rights.