UN Voices Concerns over Violence in Libya


On Tuesday, the United Nations’ top human rights official, Volker Türk revealed that the widespread violence in Libya by armed actors, the longstanding political impasse, and an increasingly restrictive civic space continue to destroy lives and severely harm rights.

Turk gave a brisk overview of recent human rights developments around the globe during the 52nd UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. He said that the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya will present its final report at the end of the session, and it is urgent for the authorities to implement its recommendations without delay.

During his speech, the UN official announced that “contempt for human beings reaches agonizing levels when war breaks out, and violence becomes a daily occurrence.”

He added that “one-quarter of humanity is living today in places affected by conflict, and it is civilians who suffer the most. Peace is precious and it is fragile – and we must nurture it. The war in Ukraine has also led to civilian casualties and destruction of a shocking magnitude.”

A report by the Institute for Economics and Peace indicated that Libya witnessed sharp increases in the economic cost of violence, recording increases of more than 85% from 2020-2021. It ranked 151st globally out of 163 countries on the list, and 16th in the Arab world, ahead of Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

The report considered access to small arms, and the continuation of violent crimes and political terrorism for the fourth year in a row as a dilemma in the country. It recorded a decrease in the percentage of deaths resulting from the internal conflict index by 21%.

The index relied on three basic criteria for measuring peace in Libya. Each of which has a number of indicators, namely the continuation of internal and external conflicts, societal security and safety, and the level of state militarization.

Over the years, kidnappings, arrests, and assassinations have increased substantially in western Libya. This is evident in the repeated statements of the Ministry of Interior, about the arrest of gangs and individuals involved in the kidnapping and extortion of expatriate workers.

In November, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) joined countries in supporting the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

UNSMIL said that violence against women and girls in its various forms has been on the rise in Libya. This includes verbal, physical, or sexual violence, so-called ‘honour crimes’, and online violence against women.

The UN Mission also encouraged all Libyan authorities to “promote an environment that respects freedom of expression and combats hate speech and violence against women and girls.”