Ahead of Libya’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 11 November, the Coalition of Libyan Human Rights Organisations (the Coalition) calls on the authorities to address key issues after years of delay.
Under the UPR, every UN Member State is reviewed every four and a half years, allowing other states and NGOs to make recommendations on how to improve their human rights records.
Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) and other members of the Coalition have submitted their own reports documenting serious human rights violations which have been committed in Libya for years with impunity. These include the targeting of civilians during the conflict; widespread enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture; discrimination against women, abuse of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers across the country; and restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including attacks against journalists and human rights defenders.
The Coalition made specific recommendations on how to tackle these issues, emphasizing the crucial need for accountability to end the cycle of violence, calling on the Libyan authorities to end and investigate attacks against civilians, ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and other key human rights treaties, and enact domestic legal reforms to promote gender equality, among others. Following the establishment of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (FFM) in June 2020, the Coalition is also calling on Libya to grant the FFM unhindered access to the country.
“This review is particularly timely, coming shortly after the ceasefire agreement signed on 23October and renewed political talks aimed at negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict,” said LFJL’s Head of Advocacy Marwa Mohamed. “Any political process has to have accountability for human rights violations at its heart. The Libyan authorities should seize this moment to demonstrate good faith to the international community by committing to swift action to address these issues during the UPR.”
In 2014, LFJL brought the Coalition together to ensure that the voices of grassroots Libyan civil society organisations are heard in the UPR. Libya’s last review in May 2015 was the first time that Libyan civil society organisations had had the freedom to engage in the process. While Libya accepted 174 of 215 recommendations made to it, it has failed to fulfil its pledges to address key human rights issues, and serious violations remain widespread.
“If Libya is to turn the tide and build a sustainable peace, it cannot ignore the voices of victims and diverse civil society groups from across the country,” said Mohamed. “After years of inaction, it’s time to end the culture of impunity that has become so deeply entrenched with a transparent commitment to justice, once and for all.”
“The Libyan state has failed to take the necessary steps to end discrimination against women and uphold their fundamental rights,” said I am a Libyan Woman but My Child is a Foreigner Director Amal Elnani. “The authorities must commit to realising gender equality in law and practice, including by implementing the 174 recommendations it accepted in the last UPR.”
“Media professionals are targeted by armed actors simply for carrying out their vital work, while Libya’s domestic laws fail to protect freedom of the press in compliance with their obligations under international human rights laws and standards, and in some cases criminalise legitimate forms of expression. The authorities must ensure the protection of media professionals from all forms of abuse including threats and reprisals,” said Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Mohamed Al-Najem.
I am a Libyan Woman but My Child is a Foreigner
Independent Organisation for Human Rights
Lawyers for Justice in Libya
Libyan Association for Tebu Culture
Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press
Tamkeen Organisation for People with Disabilities
Youth Gathering for Tawergha
For more information please contact:
Tim Molyneux, Lawyers for Justice in Libya’s Strategic Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)7400995648.
Notes to Editors
A compilation of all UPR reports produced by all Coalition members can be accessed here.