Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) is proud to announce the launch of Sawti (which means both ‘my voice’ and ‘my vote’ in Arabic), a new and dynamic initiative aimed at promoting and protecting freedom of expression in Libya in order to enable the enhanced enjoyment of this fundamental human right.
Freedom of expression has been under constant attack in Libya over the past few years. LFJL expressed its concern in previous statements about this negative trend, which has seen those who have expressed their opinions suffer violent retaliation, often carried out by armed non-state actors. Worryingly, the Libyan government has also passed a number of laws that infringe the Constitutional Declaration and its international commitments with regards to the right to freedom of expression. Notably, Law 65 of 2012 and Law 5 of 2014 have significantly undermined freedom of expression principles by unnecessarily regulating peaceful assembly and criminalising criticism of the state and its authorities.
LFJL director, Elham Saudi, said: “The adoption of these laws contradicts not only Libya’s international obligations, but also its own Constitutional Declaration and the citizens’ efforts to make Libya a truly free and democratic country. By restraining freedom of expression, the government has undermined Libya’s transition to democracy.”
Sawti aims to reverse this negative trend by bringing freedom of expression into the spotlight. It aims to engage with citizens at all levels in order to promote the right to freedom of expression and encourage its protection by national institutions. It will carry out several activities to raise awareness of this essential right among the public, including videos, art exhibitions, student debates, and a competition for both written and visual works on human rights-related issues. It will also review and advocate for the reform of legislation that fails to protect this right adequately and for a constitution and law which expressly protect it. Saudi added: “Freedom of expression is the right to be yourself, whatever your gender, nationality, religion, ethnicity or political opinion. Sawti’s goal is to remind the public of the importance of this basic truth.”
To learn more about Sawti, click here.
To know about Sawti’s activities, click here.
To keep track of the latest news and events about Sawti, look here and follow Sawti on Facebook and Twitter.
To contact the Sawti team, click here.
Here is the first Sawti video. Watch it also on LFJL social media channels and on Libyan television.