Today, the world celebrated International Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) used this global celebration to reflect on the current state of human rights in Libya, as well as to look ahead and picture a country where everyone’s human rights are protected.
Since April 2019, Libya has witnessed increased levels of conflict, hostility and human rights violations. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian objects have been rising as airstrikes become more frequent and deadly. Since the launch of the offensive on Tripoli on 4 April 2019, over 200 civilians have been killed and more than 128,000 individuals have been forced to flee their homes. The instability of Libya has also put the human rights of migrants and asylum-seekers passing through Libya in great peril.
While continuing to advocate for accountability mechanisms to ensure perpetrators are identified and hold accountable and victims are protected, LFJL also decided to look at the most basic perspectives of human rights violations, those affecting the daily life of millions of civilians in Libya.
By asking questions such as “What is the first thing you would do if you woke up to a #ConflictFree Libya tomorrow?”, LFJL engaged with fellow Libyans and the greater community on Twitter to imagine a better Libya, where the rule of law is restored, and human rights finally respected.
Many Libyan people replied to our question, and the responses showed how basic human rights (such as the freedom of movement, the right to education, the right to health) are affected by the repeated violations of human rights in Libya, further fuelled by the current conflict.
“I would visit all the Libyan cities I never got a chance to go to due to tribal/ethnic/political conflict”.
“Waking up in Libya without militias, I imagine setting up all the projects I want to do. Then go for a long swim!”.
“I would go camping in the desert again, drink the famous Tuareg Tea and watch the sunset”.
"I would go to the bank to withdraw money and leave in 10 mins like a normal person".
“With this campaign, we wanted to show how human rights violations in Libya are deeply affecting the daily life of people across Libya and outside it”, said Elham Saudi, LFJL’s Director. “The replies we got were a wonderful reminder of what the human rights movement is truly about and that the conflict has not prevented people from imagining a freer and more secure country where their rights are respected and ambitions fulfilled”.
LFJL remains committed to promoting human rights in Libya, and to this end will continue to work with other Libyan and international civil society organisations.