UK Ambassador Affirms Support for Comprehensive Political Process in Libya


On Saturday, the British Ambassador to Libya, Caroline Hurndall affirmed her support for a “comprehensive political process that allows Libyans to elect their leaders, and have a say in their nation’s future.”

In press statements, Hurndall indicated that “it is not only about the holding of the upcoming elections, but also finding a sustainable and long-term process that can provide a more legitimate government that provides services to all Libyans.”

She stressed her commitment to “protecting human rights in Libya,” indicating that she speaks to a wide range of Libyans, including women, youth groups, and civil society organizations about how to protect these basic rights,

In March, the British Embassy in Libya voiced its concerns about the findings in the UN’s Fact-Finding Mission’s (FFM) latest report on human rights abuses in Libya.

The Embassy said that the report “included evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross violations of basic human rights in the country.”

It stressed the need for Libya to follow up with concrete actions, including in the Human Rights Council.

“Transparency and accountability for human rights violations must be at the center of the Libyan transition process,” the statement read.

In its final report, the FFM to Libya stated that “there are grounds to believe a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by state security forces and armed militia groups.”

It noted that investigations “documented numerous cases of arbitrary detention, murder, rape, enslavement, extrajudicial killing, and enforced disappearance.” As well as noting that nearly all survivors interviewed had refrained from lodging official complaints, out of fear of reprisals, arrest, extortion, and a lack of confidence in the justice system.

“Migrants, in particular, have been targeted and there is overwhelming evidence that they have been systematically tortured. The report said there were reasonable grounds to believe that sexual slavery, a crime against humanity, was committed against migrants,” the statement added.

According to the statement, Libya’s government is “obligated to investigate allegations of human rights violations and crimes in areas under its control, in accordance with international standards. The practices and patterns of gross violations continue unabated, and there is little evidence that meaningful steps are being taken to reverse this troubling trajectory and bring recourse to victims,” the report said.

The FFM’s investigations found that Libyan authorities, notably the security sector, are “curtailing the rights to assembly, association, expression, and belief to ensure obedience, entrench self-serving values and norms, and punish criticism against authorities and their leadership.”

The report said that “trafficking, enslavement, forced labour, imprisonment, extortion, and smuggling of vulnerable migrants generated significant revenue for individuals, groups, and state institutions, and incentivized the continuation of violations.”

It claimed that there are reasonable grounds to believe migrants were enslaved in official detention centers. As well as “secret prisons,” and that rape as a crime against humanity was committed.

The report also said women are systematically discriminated against in Libya, and concluded that their situation has markedly deteriorated over the last three years. The enforced disappearance of MP Sihem Sergiwa and the killing of Hannan Barassi remained issues of deep concern for the FFM. The Experts reiterated their call on the authorities in Benghazi to adequately investigate these violations, and hold those responsible accountable.

The Mission called on the Human Rights Council to establish a sufficiently resourced, independent international investigation mechanism, and urged the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to “establish a distinct and autonomous mechanism with an ong