Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) welcomes the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution for assistance to Libya on human rights today by consensus. The Resolution, which provides for strong language on the human rights obligations of the Libyan government, comes after a tumultuous year for human rights in Libya.
“This Resolution could not have come at a more critical time. From the discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, to the limitations placed on freedom of speech and assembly, to the continuation of torture and the increased culture of impunity, the past year in Libya demonstrates just how real the challenges and struggles are for the protection of human rights. Looking ahead to the next year, with the drafting of the constitution, the Libyan government needs to commit itself to more than just the rhetoric in this Resolution and take active steps to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights in Libya ” said LFJL Director Elham Saudi.
LFJL commends the Libyan government for addressing and acknowledging the various human rights challenges by putting forward this Resolution and taking a positive step since last year’s resolution. The UN HRC Resolution for assistance to Libya in the field of human rights (HRC Res 19/39), passed in 2012, not only failed to address critical human rights issues, but also failed to include any mechanism for monitoring or reporting on the human rights challenges and overall human rights situation in the country.
LFJL welcomes this year’s Resolution’s inclusion of human rights language. In particular, the Resolution addresses the support of civil society, the strengthening of the judiciary, and the adoption of rules and regulations to protect freedom of speech and assembly. It further urges the Libyan government to investigate all human rights violations, to hold trials in relation to these violations, to protect religious freedoms, to empower women, and to ensure the return of displaced individuals. Finally, the Resolution provides for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to report next year on the human rights situation in Libya.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Saudi. “As human rights defenders, we would like to see more ongoing reporting and monitoring beyond that prescribed in the Resolution. The Libyan government should take the initiative to implement a national reporting and monitoring system to provide transparency to the Libyan people, including by genuinely empowering the National Council for General Freedoms and Human Rights. We hope to see these calls for action included in the Resolution develop into strong, effective policies,” added Saudi.
LFJL attended the 22nd Session of the UN HRC to promote and advocate for stronger human rights language in this year’s resolution. LFJL members Elham Saudi and Mariam Elhadri participated in a side event “The Long Road Ahead: The Struggle for Human Rights and Democracy in Libya” on 8 March and discussed key human rights issues in relation to the upcoming constitution-making process. To learn more about the event, click here.
For a copy of the Resolution, click here.