Return of a mission: Preliminary observations

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Euro-Mediterranean Non-Governmental Platform (EMNGP), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) sent a delegation to Lebanon from 11 to 17 August 2006, with the objective of demonstrating its solidarity with Lebanese civil society and evaluate the situation.

The delegation met with numerous Lebanese civil society organizations, various representatives agencies of the UNO, and other personalities. It is grateful to the Lebanese organizations and wishes to emphasize their fraternal and efficient reception.

The delegation welcomes the cease fire proclamation and its respect, but at the same time regrets that more than a month was necessary to put an end to the fights, and is worried from the possibility of their restart.

The delegation members could firstly note the extraordinary dash of solidarity among Lebanese society regardless the religion. Lebanese civil society offered about one million persons, representing almost a quarter of the population, who were forced to flee their homes, the necessary aid and assistance even before the international aid could reach the country.

The delegation members could also note the extent of destruction committed by the Israeli army: destruction of bridges (more than 75 bridges destroyed according to the authorities), destruction of electricity and industrial centers, including agro-alimentary, bombardment of civilian homes leading to the disappearance of entire villages, or various neighborhoods in Beirut, environmental pollution of the sea, soil, etc.

More than 1300 people were killed as a result of military actions, emphasizing however that the final number will only increase as the debris will be removed.

In addition, several cases of bombardment of civil convoys and health vehicles were evoked.

Recalling that attacks against civilian population and intentional destruction of civil infrastructures constitute, for all the parties involved in this conflict, a striking violation of humanitarian international law, our organizations estimate imperative an international inquiry commission examines the facts and determines the incurred responsibilities. Those who committed these severe violations of international humanitarian law must be punished and the victims of these doings should be able to get compensations.

Finally, it is advisable to salute Lebanese civil society will to implement collectively, already, the necessary means to fact-finding. Our organizations call for supporting and participating in this initiative.

The international community should find the necessary means for reconstructing Lebanon.

Beyond the evident solidarity, it is a duty towards Lebanese people who endured for a month the violations of its most elementary rights.

Our organizations are convinced that dialog between all civil societies in this regions of the world remains one of the essential conditions for peace which the peoples of the Middle East long for.

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