United Nations holds Lebanese officials accountable for country’s extreme poverty

BEIRUT — As the Lebanese parliamentary elections approach, the United Nations and its Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter, launched a strong appeal and criticism of the Lebanese government and current and former officials.

De Schutter said that the devastating actions of Lebanon’s political and financial leaders have driven most of the country’s population into poverty. Impunity, corruption, and structural inequality have been integrated into a corrupt political and economic system, he added. 

De Schutter pointed out that the government had been aware of the disaster for years but had done nothing to evade it. Officials even moved their money out of the country without being held accountable.

He called on the next government to put accountability and transparency high on its list of priorities and publicly reveal its financial resources. Lebanon is currently on the brink of becoming a failed state, warned De Schutter.

Central bank policy in particular has led to deteriorating labor conditions in the country, destroying the economy, wiping out citizens’ savings, and plunging them into extreme poverty.

De Schutter concluded by calling on the international community to support Lebanon, noting that such support would have no effect unless the government adopts structural reforms to put an end to the process of impoverishment.