Transforming Tragedy into Activism & Change


For the Elimination of All Impediments Affecting the Domestic Judicial Process and the Establishment of an International Fact-Finding Commission for the Beirut Port Explosion and the Disclosure of the Management of the Port Containers Terminal Contract between the Ministry of Public Works & CMA CGM

Transparency International – Lebanon (TI-LB) marked the third commemoration of the tragic Beirut port explosion by organizing two panel discussions at the Gefinor Rotana Hotel. The focus of these discussions was to explore the process of adopting a comprehensive perspective of the Beirut port. The event was held in collaboration with the August 4 Initiative and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

This meeting gathered representatives from the public and private sectors, the international community, local civil society, academics, and the media. The discussion in the first panel revolved around the practical steps needed to push for an accountable and transparent investigation on the explosion and to provide psychological support to aid in the recovery of affected individuals. They also emphasized the importance of integrating these concepts into educational curricula, recognizing their potential to foster positive change and effectiveness in Lebanon. Lama Fakih, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division and Director of the Beirut office at Human Rights Watch, emphasized the need to remind Lebanese political and security officials of their responsibility for the crime of the Beirut port explosion, and for obstructing the investigation and hindering the judicial process. The second panel focused on promoting good governance to revitalize the functioning of the port. Enhancing transparency and reducing corruption were key goals, alongside reactivating the role of the private sector, which had been significantly impacted by the disaster. The aim is to build a shared vision for this essential public utility, which not only serves as a central pillar of Lebanon’s economic, financial, and touristic identity but which also stands as a symbol of resilience during these complex times. François Valérian, board member of Transparency International, emphasized the importance of disclosing contracts related to public procurement by relevant public and private institutions. He also stressed on Transparency International – France’s commitment to supporting the efforts of Transparency International – Lebanon through submitting a letter to the headquarters of CMA CGM in Marseille.

Given the pressing need to manage the port of Beirut in alignment with internationally accepted standards for port management, operation, and investment, it becomes crucial to align with economic, political, and administrative transformations essential for development. However, the utmost urgency lies in ensuring the adoption of good governance principles throughout the recovery of the entire port area. Transparency and active participation must be earnestly applied in the reconstruction process. In light of this, we have put forth the following recommendations:

1- We urge the 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an international fact-finding commission for the August 4, 2020 Beirut Port explosion.

2- We urge the Ministry of Public Works and CMA CGM (CMA Beirut Terminal) to disclose the contract signed between the company and the Interim Committee for the Management and Investment of the Port regarding the management of the container terminal. The company had officially received a request for information this morning from Transparency International – Lebanon to obtain a copy of the contract related to the management, operation, and maintenance of the container terminal at the Port of Beirut, in accordance with the Right to Access Information Law.

3- We encourage the Lebanese Government and the International Community, to adopt a timely and accessible public communication approach pertaining to the process of the reconstruction of the Port of Beirut as per the guiding principles of the 3 Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction (3RF).

4- We call upon the Lebanese governmental and parliamentary concerned entities to eliminate all impediments affecting the domestic judicial process.

In the coming period, we reaffirm our commitment towards collaborating with local civil society organizations to collectively advocate for the adoption of these recommendations, for it firmly believes in rebuilding the souls before the stone.