[QODLink]
Middle East

HRW concerned over Lebanese Alawites' safety

Rights group says government's efforts are insufficient to end violence threatening Tripoli's Alawites.

Last updated: 20 Dec 2013 09:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Snipers in the Lebanese coastal city of Tripoli have killed at least 100 people since the start of the Syrian war [AFP]

Human Rights Watch dubbed Lebanese authorities' responses to escalating sectarian violence as "weak," and urged for measures to disarm gunmen who have killed tens in recent clashes.

"With battles going on in Tripoli and with people being targeted, beaten, knifed, and killed, the Lebanese government can’t afford to sit on its hands,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch in an statement issued on Friday. 

“It needs to start arresting and prosecuting the people behind the violence in Tripoli and confiscate their weapons.”

Dorment tensions between Lebanon's multi-confessional population was recently fuelled by the next-door raging civil war in Syria where more than 100,000 have been killed since it first sparked in 2011.

Battles between mostly-Sunni rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad's government have spilled over in Lebanon, precisely in the neigbourhood of Jabal Mohsen in the northern city of Tripoli where Alawite residents, supporting Assad, and Sunni residents siding with rebels, have engaged in their own clashes.

Over the course of a year, more than a 100 people were killed in Tripoli which has an estimated population of 500,000 and is only 30km away from the Syrian border. This prompted the government on December 2 to place the country's second largest city under the army's control for six months.

HRW says that several attacks targeting the Alawite's community of tens of thousands in Jabal Mohsen have gone without investigation or arrests.

Calling for probes into those responsible for the attacks and holding them accountable, HRW also urged international donors to back Lebanese authorities in confiscating weapons used by gunmen including mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and automatic weapons.

"Here is no quick fix to the rampant violence in Tripoli or to resolving decades-long grievances, but addressing the problem of impunity of gunmen is absolutely key," Stork said.

"Lebanese authorities should expand security in the short-term while developing reconciliation processes to achieve lasting solutions to the violence in Tripoli."

324

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.