GENEVA, Switzerland - Lebanon, faced with an economy in upheaval, mass protests, and the crippling effects of the coronavirus is fast spiralling out of control, the UN human rights chief said Friday.
Lebanon has faced one economic shock after another, its currency has plunged more than 80%, thousands of businesses have gone broke, and a third of the population have lost their jobs.
Michelle Bachelet has called on the international community to get behind the embattled country. "The alarm has been sounded, and we must respond immediately before it is too late," she said.
"Many have lost jobs, seen their life-savings evaporate before their eyes and lost their homes," the High Commissioner for Human Rights said, urging the government, political parties and the financial sector, to work together to protect the poorest and most defenceless.
"This situation is fast spiralling out of control, with many already destitute and facing starvation as a direct result of this crisis, and as is so often the case in such situations, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most."
The impact of the proliferating unemployment is having community-wide effects.
"Unemployment propels poverty and indebtedness," Bachelet said.
"In a country with no unemployment benefits and fragile social security nets, an unemployment crisis has grave implications not only for the economy but for the very social fabric of the country."
(Image credit: Crisis Group).