Reporting, Monitoring & Advocacy

Open letter to Libyan state on its Universal Periodic Review mid-term and Coalition publishes monitoring report

1 December 2017

To the Honourable Representatives of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

We, the Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations (the Coalition), are writing to you as November 2017 marked the mid-term for the State of Libya‘s (Libya) second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). On this occasion, we are disappointed to note that Libya has not submitted a mid-term report assessing the status of implementation of the UPR recommendations it has accepted as part of its second UPR. In view of this, we are deeply concerned that Libya has not made significant progress over the past two years in the implementation of these recommendations. 

In May 2015, the Coalition welcomed Libya’s commitment, as set out in Libya’s UPR national report dated 5 May 2015, to strive to implement the UPR recommendations. Subsequently, on 25 September 2015, Libya accepted 171 of 202 recommendations put forward by United Nations (UN) Member States to improve human rights protection in Libya.

We monitored 48% of Libya’s accepted UPR recommendations. These focused on (i) the rights of freedoms of expression, association, and assembly; (ii) the right to non-discrimination and equality for internally displaced persons (IDPs), persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and on the basis of gender; and finally (iii) the right to be free from torture and ill-treatment. In view of this, we present to you our findings in our report entitled “UPRna Mid-Term Monitoring Report: An Assessment of Libya’s Second Universal Periodic Review” (the Report). Our findings conclude that: 
  • Libya has not implemented in any way 73% of the recommendations it accepted;
  • Libya has not implemented any recommendations at all in relation to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Libya has only taken limited steps towards the implementation of 23% of the recommendations it accepted in relation to promoting non-discrimination and equality and prohibiting torture and ill-treatment; 
  • Libya has taken notable steps towards implementation of only one recommendation in relation to the rights of ethnic minorities;
  • Libya has failed to produce an implementation action plan despite it being two years since it promised it would implement the recommendations; and
  • Libya has not fulfilled its promise to establish “a genuine partnership” with civil society organisations “in order to give effect to and strengthen human rights in Libya”,  instead, Libya has put in place additional restrictions on the work of civil society organisations.
These findings demonstrate clearly that human rights protection is not on Libya’s list of priorities. We acknowledge the precarious security situation in the country. However, this does not exempt Libya from its duties to respect, protect and promote human rights. It also does not justify the lack of any practical steps taken by Libya during the implementation period of the UPR. Key among these steps are: 

(i) to produce and publish an implementation action plan for all accepted UPR recommendations, with an anticipated time-frame for activities that is regularly updated to reflect the progress of implementation; 
(ii) to consult and cooperate with Libyan civil society during both the formulation of this implementation action plan and during the implementation of UPR recommendations; and
(iii) to submit to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) an assessment report on the status of implementation of accepted UPR recommendations, which can be an opportunity to identify practical ways for addressing any obstacles it is facing for human rights protection.

Libya’s third UPR cycle is in May 2020. We urge Libya to make tangible efforts to implement accepted UPR recommendations from the current second cycle during the two remaining years. We also call on you to organise a national consultation with Libyan civil society during the remaining implementation period and ahead of Libya’s third UPR cycle.
Yours faithfully,

The Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisation comprising the following undersigned organisations: 

Al Nissa Qadimat Movement (the Women are Coming Movement)
Independent Organisation for Human Rights
Lawyers for Justice in Libya
Libyan Association for Tebu Culture
Libyan Center for Freedom of Press
Mercy Association for Charitable and Humanitarian Aid (Alrahma)
National Libyan Organisation for the Development of People with Disabilities
Youth for Tawergha



LFJL and Article 19 have submitted a statement welcoming Libya’s acceptance of all 14 recommendations directly relating to free expression, association or assembly.


Item 6 UPR Outcome Adoption for Libya


Delivered by: Aml El Houderi 

25 September 2015


Mr. President,


ARTICLE 19 and Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) welcome Libya’s acceptance of all 14 recommendations directly relating to free expression, association or assembly.

We welcome the acceptance of Latvia’s recommendation to “Repeal all provisions in the Penal Code and other laws and regulations criminalizing defamation, libel and slander, and ensure that any restrictions on freedom of expression are in line with the ICCPR”.

Implementing this recommendation would require substantial legal reform, including repealing Law 15 of 2012 and Law 5 of 2014 which prevent the media from discussing religious opinions issued by the National Council of Islamic Jurisprudence, criminalise actions “which may harm or prejudice the February 17 Revolution” and criminalise insult to the executive, judiciary or legislature.

We welcome Libya’s acceptance of the UK’s recommendation to “ensure all human rights violations, including assassination of journalists and human rights defenders, are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice”. Prominent women’s rights activist, Salwa Bughaighis, was killed in her home by gunmen in June 2014. 

Youth activists Tawfiq Bensaud and Sami Elkawafi were assassinated by armed gunmen in Benghazi. From mid-2012 to November 2014, there were at least 91 threats or assaults against journalists. The systematic nature of these attacks led to self-censorship and selective news reporting.  

Libya must ensure independent, speedy and effective investigations and prosecutions in response to threats and attacks. Protocols should be established to collect and safeguard evidence and to protect witnesses and lawyers. This is essential to ensure that those responsible for violent crimes are held accountable, as well as those who command, conspire to commit, aid or cover up such acts.

Libya should ensure supportive mechanisms are in place, such as safety, risk awareness and self-protection trainings, to protect freedom of expression stakeholders from future attacks.

We call on Libya to put in place a national plan for implementation of the recommendations it has accepted, in cooperation with civil society and to make this document publically available.

Thank you.


(Watch oral intervention)



The Coalition of Libyan human rights organisations releases its proposed recommendations for Libya’s UPR  and shares them with UN Member states.


The Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations shares its suggested recommendations in seven key human rights areas, including freedom of expression, freedom of press, women’s rights, internally displaced persons, disability rights, minority rights and freedom from torture. These recommendations have been shared with key UN Member States to consider in Libya’s UPR review.

Click here to read the Coalition's recommendations 


Share your thoughts on which recommendations you want to see Libya accept. You can do this by taking the survey and clicking on the following topics: 




The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights Publishes Contributions for the Summary of Stakeholder's information

The OHCHR published on its website the individual and joint submissions of civil society organisations for Libya's UPR. There are 18 individual submissions and four joint submissions. The OHCHR has also published the summary report summarising all these contributions. 

For the individual and joint submissions for Libya's UPR, please click here

For the stakeholder summary report, please click here


Coalition for Libyan Human Rights Organisation's UPR submissions               


Individual submissions:



Joint submissions:




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