Urgent call to the UN Human Rights Council to take a strong commitment to address ongoing human rights violations in Libya

March 18, 2019

With the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) due to discuss the human rights situation in Libya in view of the adoption of the annual Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) urges member states to commit to establishing an independent investigative mechanism that aims to end the cycle of impunity in Libya. “For far too long the Council has allowed the violence and abuse to carry on in Libya with little regard”, said Marwa Mohamed, LFJL’s Head of Advocacy and Outreach. “We thus remind the HRC of its mandate which is to “promote and protect human rights.” It is time to take measures to end the cycle of impunity by establishing an accountability mechanism that will help identify perpetrators and bring them to justice.”  

The political stalemate that continues to fragment the country has deepened the divide between the relevant stakeholders, leaving an institutional vacuum that has served as a breeding ground for armed groups and militias.  These groups operate outside of the rule of law and are responsible for ongoing human rights violations carried out with total impunity. Over the years, victims, human rights defenders and organizations have turned to the HRC for support in their fight for accountability.  However, while the HRC has taken strong positions against human rights violations in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Myanmar, it has systematically failed Libya.

Despite heavy reporting on the widespread human rights violations in the country, so far very little has been done to address these crimes and hold perpetrators to account. Libyan authorities have fallen short of meeting their international human rights obligations, by failing to protect the civilian population. The lack of commitment by the international community, demonstrated by disregarding the urgent calls for accountability in Libya, only makes the environment of impunity more conducive.  

LFJL therefore urges the HRC to:

  1. Ensure the fulfilment of its mandate aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights when addressing the ongoing human rights violations in Libya;
  1. Take a clear stand against impunity by establishing a mechanism that will guarantee accountability and eventually lead to redress for the thousands of victims of human rights violations in Libya; and
  1. Establish an investigative mechanism that can determine the facts and circumstances of abuses and violations across Libya, as well as identify individual perpetrators, which should lead to bringing them to justice.

LFJL also urges Libya to:

  1. Adhere to its relevant international legal obligations by ending the cycle of impunity and bringing those responsible for ongoing human rights violations to account; and  
  1. Assist and support the HRC in the appointment of an investigative mechanism and all necessary measures to facilitate the work of such mechanism.  

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