Human Rights Watch (HRW) among other rights groups urged the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in a joint statement, to ensure meaningful follow-up on the human rights situation in Libya.
Amnesty International, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY), the Defender Center for Human Rights (DCHR), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) also signed the joint statement.
The rights groups urged the HRC to “take credible action to ensure the establishment of an independent mechanism to follow up on the human rights situation in Libya, with a mandate and sufficient resources. This is to monitor, evaluate, provide support for and report on the implementation of the Fact-Finding Mission’s (FFM) recommendations – particularly with regard to accountability for serious human rights violations in the country.”
The statement called for the HRC to “share information, evidence collected, including by the FFM, with relevant national, regional, and international courts with competent jurisdiction. This is to support the ongoing and future legal proceedings, including criminal, and thus providing a pathway for perpetrators of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law to be held accountable.”
They also urged the Council to provide regular updates and public reports to the HRC and other UN bodies.
“This follow-up accountability work is distinct from, and must be kept separate from the day-to-day monitoring and reporting carried out by the human rights component at the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), so as not to detract from resources required for that work, nor jeopardize UNSMIL’s access to the country, and in order to protect the strict independence of the follow-up accountability work. Such work would be complementary to, and not duplicative of, the human rights component at UNSMIL,” the statement read.
The rights groups warned that the failure to implement its suggestions “would send a dangerous message to perpetrators that they can continue to commit serious crimes under international law with impunity.”
They affirmed they stand ready to assist with these efforts in any way they can.
“Human rights conditions in Libya today remain precarious as systematic abuses carried out by militias, armed groups, and the authorities remain rampant, and impunity for past abuses continues,” the statement added.
“Internationally banned landmines and other unexploded ordnance abandoned since the 2011 conflict continue to cause substantial civilian harm and displacement,” it noted.
The statement pointed out that the deep political divisions remain in “a profoundly fragmented country.” National elections initially scheduled for December 2021 were postponed indefinitely. There remains no prospect for an end to the political impasse, amid continued human rights abuses.