1 October 2015
The Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations calls on Libya to adopt an implementation plan for UPR recommendations
On Friday 25 September 2015, during the 30th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Libya was adopted. Libya’s Permanent Representative to the UN at Geneva declared that Libya accepted 161 out of 202 recommendations made by HRC member states and have taken note of an additional 31 recommendations. The Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations (the Coalition) welcomes Libya’s acceptance of these recommendations and calls for concrete steps to be taken to ensure their implementation.
The UPR is a mechanism by which the HRC reviews the human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States every four and a half years. The adoption of the outcome is a pivotal point in Libya’s second UPR cycle and provided a vital opportunity to consider the state’s ongoing human rights challenges since the 2011 uprising. Although this is the first cycle where Libyan civil society were able to engage authentically in the process, it remains disappointing that Libya failed to conduct any national consultations to consider their concerns, prior to submitting its State Report.
The recommendations of HRC Member States to Libya covered a diverse set of human rights concerns. Many urged Libya to publish a plan on transitional justice and accountability, in order to carry out prompt and transparent investigations into human rights violations. Other recommendations echoed this sentiment, by calling for an end to the prevailing culture of impunity and for the state to provide redress and reparation to victims of human rights violations. Specific concerns raised included the abolishment of the death penalty, the protection of media practitioners and civil society activists, the rights of internally displaced persons, the need to promote the participation of women in society and their protection from all forms of violence, and ending discrimination on the basis of nationality, ethnicity and religion. In light of the wide range and severity of the issues raised in the recommendations, urgent response is needed by Libya to address these serious challenges.
The Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations was also actively involved in the UPR process with its representative organisations submitting stakeholder reports on seven different human rights issues: freedom of expression; freedom of press; IDPs; women’s rights; disability rights; minority rights; and freedom from torture. On 25 September 2015, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) and Article 19 submitted an oral intervention during Libya’s UPR adoption session highlighting their concerns regarding the enjoyment of freedom of expression and the treatment of journalists in Libya.
In addition, prior to the adoption session, a panel discussion was hosted by Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) at the HRC entitled Libya’s UPR: Opportunities and Challenges for Implementation. Panellists from the International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, the Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations and CIHRS reflected on the wide range of human rights challenges facing Libya, made worse by perpetrators of human rights operating with total impunity. In this environment, panellists noted the value of the UPR mechanism but highlighted the need for an implementation plan for accepted recommendations.
The Coalition welcome Libya’s acceptance of the majority of Member State UPR recommendations issued and calls for their effective implementation. To fulfil this commitment, Libya must undertake legal reforms to ensure that its national law is in compliance with its human rights obligations, ensure accountability and end the culture of impunity. “The past four years saw the normalisation of serious human rights violations in Libya. Libya must seize the opportunity offered by the UPR to engage in addressing the human rights situation through implementation of the recommendations it accepted. The failure to do so will continue to jeopardise inalienable rights of all Libyans,” said International Advocacy Programme Coordinator at LFJL, Aml El-Houderi.
To safeguard and increase the effectiveness of the implementation of UPR recommendations the Coalition calls on Libya to:
For more information about the Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations’ Activities and more information about the UPR process please visit the UPRna webpage, www.uprna.ly.