As Libya celebrates its second anniversary since the Declaration of Liberation, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) reflects on a year of developments and challenges, and urges the Libyan government to recall its commitment to fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and democracy.
LFJL acknowledges Libya’s significant human rights achievements during the past year. The adoption of the Law Criminalising Torture, Enforced Disappearances and Discrimination was a timely gesture towards dismantling the current culture of impunity and acceptance regarding such human rights violations. The recent constitutional progress has brought with it the opportunity for peaceful committee elections followed by a transparent, collaborative and representative drafting process. Furthermore, LFJL is encouraged by the on-going activities of civil society, which have continued to flourish and point towards the establishment of lasting institutions that are capable of assuring the long-term advancement of human rights in Libya.
However, the human rights situation in Libya has suffered unarguably as a result of a year of declining respect for the rule of law. Militia groups remain prevalent actors whom largely are exempt from criminal prosecution. They regularly attempt to intimidate and influence democratic institutions. Unlawfully armed groups are also responsibly for dozens of assassinations, violent attacks, and the destruction of various cultural and religious heritage sites. The recent abduction of the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, marks the extent to which democratic authority has failed to be respected by such groups. LFJL warns that if the government continues to treat groups with impunity it will only lead to further disorder and the erosion of government legitimacy.
“Even though the revolution is over, the Libyan people must continue to fight for human rights and the rule of law. Today is a unique opportunity for each of us to not only recollect, but also look ahead to what needs to be done” said LFJL Director Elham Saudi. “The Libyan government especially must prioritise urgently the disarmament process and take direct action to ensure the protection of democratic principles,” added Saudi.