On the International Day of Enforced Disappearance taking place on August 30, the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) reported that after ten years of political change in Libya, the country is still witnessing numerous grave human rights violations.
Kidnapping and enforced disappearances based on social identity and political affiliation are among the most prominent forms of these violations, according to the Commission.
The NCHRL has expressed its concern over the spread of enforced disappearances and urged all parties to the conflict not to use enforced disappearance as a tool of war. The Committee also reminded the warring parties that the kidnapping of civilians constitutes hostage-taking, which remains a war crime.
Per Rome Statute Article 7, hostage-taking is considered to be enforced disappearance and remains a crime against humanity.
The Committee also reminds all parties to the conflict that, according to Article 1, paragraph 1, of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, “no person shall be subjected to enforced disappearance, whether concerning a state of war, threat of war, internal political instability, or any other exceptional situation to justify enforced disappearance. “
Enforced disappearance constitutes a continuing violation of human rights, especially for the families of the victims, who do not obtain information about their relatives.
The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1992, recognises that enforced disappearance deprives a person of the protection of the law, violates the rules of international law, and deprives him of freedom and security.
Of particular concern in Libya is the continuing harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of victims, witnesses, and lawyers dealing with cases of enforced disappearances. Generally, the perpetrators of enforced disappearances continue to enjoy widespread impunity.
The NCHRL calls on all armed groups across the country to release all detainees without any restrictions or conditions.
The committee calls on all Libyan authorities to take all necessary measures to put an end to this phenomenon and reminds them that, according to Libyan and international law, “every person deprived of his freedom must be in an officially recognised place of detention and be brought before the courts without delay.”
The NCHRL affirmed its commitment to documenting cases of enforced disappearance in Libya and its willingness to prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes. It urged Libyan authorities to achieve justice for the victims, affirming the Committee’s principled position that is based on human rights and rejects all of its violations.