History Podcasts

Libya Human Rights - History

Libya Human Rights - History

A. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings

There were numerous reports that pro-GNA militias, anti-GNA militias, LNA units, ISIS fighters, and other extremist groups committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. Alliances, sometimes temporary, among elements of the government, nonstate militias, and former or active officers in the armed forces participating in extralegal campaigns made it difficult to ascertain the role of the government in attacks by armed groups. In the absence of an effective judicial and security apparatus, perpetrators remained unidentified, and most of these crimes remained unpunished.

Reports indicated extremist and terrorist organizations, criminal gangs, and militias played a prominent role in targeted killings, kidnappings, and suicide bombings perpetrated against both government officials and civilians. Criminal groups or armed elements affiliated with both the government and its opponents may have carried out others. Shelling, gunfire, airstrikes, and unexploded ordinances killed scores of persons during the year.

Through November the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented 287 civilian casualties. Airstrikes caused the largest number of deaths, while shelling injured the most victims. For example, on July 4, UNSMIL reported that the shelling of a beach in Tripoli killed five persons and injured six persons, all from the same family.

ISIS fighters committed extrajudicial killings and attacks against the military. On October 4, an ISIS suicide bomber attacked a court complex in Misrata, killing four persons.

Civil society and media reports claimed both pro-GNA, anti-GNA, and nonaligned militia groups committed human rights abuses, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians, kidnapping, torture, burning houses, and forced expulsions based on political belief or tribal affiliation. In February UNSMIL reported that a boy was fatally shot by members of an armed group when the car he was riding in reportedly failed to stop and was fired upon at a checkpoint in Zuwarah.

There were reports of killings of detainees by multiple actors. On April 1, the body of a man arrested by the al-Uruba Police Station in Benghazi the previous day was brought into the Benghazi Medical Center with a gunshot wound, broken ribs, and contusions. On September 4, a 26-year-old detainee of the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council was killed in custody.

B. Disappearance

Government-aligned forces and armed groups acting outside government control committed an unknown number of forced disappearances. The government made few effective efforts to prevent, investigate, or penalize forced disappearances.

Kidnappings were common throughout the year. In November the World Health Organization condemned an attack on health facilities and health-care workers in Sabha and the reported kidnapping of a doctor from one medical center. Also in November, four Turkish nationals from the Ubari power plant were kidnapped by an unidentified armed group.

A Tripoli based activist, Jabir Zain, remained in captivity after an armed group linked to the Interior Ministry of the GNA abducted him in September 2016. Many disappearances that occurred during the Qadhafi regime, as well as many during the 2011 revolution, remained unresolved. Due to the continuing conflict, weak judicial system, legal ambiguity regarding amnesty for revolutionary forces, and the slow progress of the National Fact-finding and Reconciliation Commission, law enforcement authorities and the judiciary made no appreciable progress in resolving high-profile cases reported between 2013 and the end of the year.

C. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

While the Constitutional Declaration and postrevolutionary legislation prohibit such practices, according to credible accounts, personnel operating both government and extralegal detention centers tortured prisoners. At times during the year, due to its lack of resources and capability, the government relied on militias to manage its incarceration facilities. Furthermore, militias, not police, initiated arrests in most instances. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), militias held detainees at their discretion prior to placing them in official detention facilities. While judicial police controlled many facilities, management of a number of other prisons and detention facilities was under the partial or complete control of extralegal armed groups. Treatment varied from facility to facility and typically was worst at the time of arrest. Reported forms of abuses included beatings with belts, sticks, hoses, and rifles; administration of electric shocks; burns inflicted by boiling water, heated metal, or cigarettes; mock executions; suspension from metal bars; and rape. The full extent of abuse at the hands of extremists or militias remained unknown.

A November 3 article by Le Monde alleged that male detainees were raped systematically as an instrument of war by multiple factions.

UNSMIL documented cases involving deprivation of liberty and torture across the country. On May 20, the body of a man killed by a gunshot wound was brought to a Tripoli hospital. The victim’s hands and legs were bound with metal chains. An armed group reportedly abducted him approximately 40 days earlier in Wershfana. On September 13, the body of a boy age 17 showing signs of torture and bullet wounds was found in Benghazi.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prisons and detention facilities are often overcrowded, harsh, and life threatening, falling well short of international standards. Many prisons and detention centers were outside government control.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), migrant detention centers, operated by the Ministry of Interior’s Department to Combat Irregular Migration, also suffered from massive overcrowding, extremely poor sanitation conditions, lack of access to medical care, and significant disregard for the protection of the detainees.

Physical Conditions: In the absence of an effective judicial system or release of prisoners, overcrowding and limited access to health care reportedly continued during the year. Many prison facilities reportedly need infrastructural repairs. Accurate numbers of those incarcerated, including a breakdown by holding agency, were not available. A large number of detainees were foreigners, of whom migrants reportedly comprised the majority. Facilities that held irregular migrants generally were of poorer quality than other facilities.

Additionally, detention centers held minors with adults. There were reportedly separate facilities for men and women. Female judicial police staff reportedly guards female detainees in al-Quafiya prison. UNHCR and the IOM reported an estimated 14,000 migrant detainees in the country’s government-run centers alone as of December, with an unknown, large number of additional migrant detainees held in nongovernment centers.

There were reportedly no functioning juvenile facilities in the country, and authorities held juveniles in adult prisons.

In June unidentified armed groups killed 12 detainees upon their conditional release from al-Baraka prison in Tripoli. All 12 were members of the former Qadhafi government and accused of taking part in the violence against antigovernment protesters in 2011.

There were reports of killings and deaths in detention centers. Due to security conditions that limited monitoring, the exact number of those killed in prisons, jails, pretrial detention, or other detention centers was unknown.

Makeshift detention facilities existed throughout the country. Conditions at these facilities varied widely, but consistent problems included overcrowding, poor ventilation, and the lack of basic necessities. Officials, local militias, and criminal gangs moved migrants through a network of detention centers with little monitoring by the government or international organizations. Reports indicated the conditions in most of these detention facilities were below international standards.

Administration: The Judicial Police Authority, tasked by the Ministry of Justice to run the prison system, operates from its headquarters in Tripoli. It remained administratively split, however, with a second headquarters in al-Bayda near the HoR, reporting to a separate Eastern Ministry of Justice and providing oversight to prisons in eastern Libya and Zintan. During the year the ratio of detainees and prisoners to the generally poorly trained guards varied significantly. Monitoring and training of prison staff by international organizations remained largely suspended, although some training of judicial police resumed during the year.

Independent Monitoring: The government permitted some independent monitoring, and, as of November 29, permitted increased access to transit facilities by the IOM and UNHCR. Nevertheless, the lack of clarity regarding who ran each facility and the sheer number of facilities made it impossible to gain a comprehensive view of the system.

Reports also raised questions concerning the capability and professional training of local human rights organizations charged with overseeing prisons and detention centers.

Due to the volatile security situation, few international organizations were present in the country monitoring human rights. While UNSMIL monitored the situation through local human rights defenders, members of the judiciary and judicial police, the absence of a sustained international presence on the ground made oversight problematic.

D. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Nonstate armed groups detained and held persons arbitrarily in authorized and unauthorized facilities, including unknown locations, for extended periods and without legal charges or legal authority.

The prerevolutionary criminal code remains in effect. It establishes procedures for pretrial detention and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but these procedures were often not enforced. Throughout the year the government had weak control over police and other state and local armed groups providing internal security, and some armed groups carried out illegal and arbitrary detentions unimpeded. The lack of international monitoring meant that there were no reliable statistics on the number of arbitrary detainees.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS

The government had limited control over the national police and other elements of the security apparatus. The national police force, which reports to the Ministry of Interior, has official responsibility for internal security. The military under the Ministry of Defense has as its primary mission the defense of the country from external threats, but it also supported Ministry of Interior forces on internal security matters. The situation varied widely from municipality to municipality contingent upon whether police organizational structures remained intact. In some areas, such as Tobruk, police functioned, but in others, such as Sebha, they existed in name only. Civilian authorities had nominal control of police and the security apparatus, and security-related police work generally fell to disparate militias--sometimes paid by government ministries--that exercised law enforcement functions without training or supervision and with varying degrees of accountability.

Impunity from prosecution was a serious problem. The government’s lack of control led to impunity for armed groups on all sides of the conflict. The killings of Sheikh Mansour Abdelkarim al-Barassi; International Committee of the Red Cross staff member Michael Greub; and human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis, all of which occurred in 2014, remained unresolved. At year’s end authorities had not investigated these attacks, and there had been no arrests, prosecutions, or trials of any alleged perpetrators of these killings.

There were no known mechanisms to investigate effectively and punish abuses of authority, abuses of human rights, and corruption by police and security forces. In the militia-dominated security environment, a blurred chain of command led to confusion regarding responsibility for the actions of armed groups, including those nominally under government control. In these circumstances police and other security forces were usually ineffective in preventing or responding to violence incited by militias. Amid the confusion regarding chain of command and absent effective legal institutions, a culture of impunity prevailed.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

The law stipulates an arrest warrant is required, but authorities may detain persons without charge for as long as six days and may renew detention for up to three months, provided there is “reasonable evidence.” The law also specifies authorities must inform detainees of the charges against them and have a detainee appear before a judicial authority every 30 days to renew a detention order. The law gives the government power to detain persons for up to two months if considered a “threat to public security or stability” based on their “previous actions or affiliation with an official or unofficial apparatus or tool of the former regime.”

Although the Constitutional Declaration recognizes the right to counsel, the vast majority of detainees did not have access to bail or a lawyer. Government authorities and militias held detainees incommunicado for unlimited periods in official and unofficial detention centers.

Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities frequently ignored or were unable to enforce the provisions of the criminal code prohibiting arbitrary arrest and detention. Quasi-state or nonstate militias arbitrarily arrested and detained persons throughout the year. On August 12, an armed group detained former prime minister Ali Zeidan in Tripoli. On August 22, he was released after international pressure. No information was available on why or under whose authority Zeidan was detained. According to HRW, prison authorities and militias held thousands of detainees without charges or due process.

Pretrial Detention: While authorities must order detention for a specific period not exceeding 90 days, the law in practice results in extended pretrial detention. An ambiguity in the language of the law allows judges to renew the detention period if the suspect is of “interest to the investigation.” In addition, limited resources and capacity of the courts resulted in a severe backlog of cases. According to international NGOs, there were numerous inmates held in government-controlled prisons in pretrial detention for periods longer than the sentences for the minor crimes they allegedly committed. Some individuals detained during the 2011 revolution detainees remained in custody, mostly in facilities in the west.

Militias held most of those they detained without charge and frequently outside the government’s authority. With control of the security environment diffused among various militia groups and a largely nonfunctioning judiciary, circumstances prevented most detainees from accessing a review process.

Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: Affected individuals may challenge the measures before a judge. The law allows a detained suspect to challenge pretrial detention before the prosecutor and a magistrate judge. If the prosecutor does not order release, the detained person may appeal to the magistrate judge. If the magistrate judge orders continued detention following review of the prosecutor’s request, and despite the detainee’s challenge, there is no further right to appeal the assigned detention order. A breakdown in court system functions and security challenges transporting prisoners to the courts limited detainee access to the courts.

Amnesty: The government did not clarify whether it believed there was a blanket legal amnesty for revolutionaries’ actions performed to promote or protect the 2011 revolution.

E. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitutional Declaration provides for an independent judiciary and stipulates every person has a right of recourse to the judicial system. Nonetheless, thousands of detainees lacked access to lawyers and information concerning the charges against them. Judges and prosecutors contended with threats, intimidation, violence, as well as under-resourced courts, and struggled to deal with complex cases. Judges and prosecutors in various parts of the country cited concerns regarding the overall lack of security in and around the courts, further hindering the establishment of the rule of law. Some courts, including in Tripoli and in the east, continued to operate during the year. Throughout the rest of the country, however, courts operated sporadically depending on local security conditions.

Trial Procedures

The Constitutional Declaration provides for the presumption of innocence and the right to legal counsel, provided at public expense for the indigent. During the year, state-affiliated and nonstate actors did not respect these standards. There were multiple reports of individuals denied fair and public trials, choice of attorney, language interpretation, the ability to confront plaintiff witnesses, protection against forced testimony or confessions, and the right to appeal.

According to reports from international NGOs, arbitrary detention and torture by militias, including those operating nominally under government oversight, contributed to a climate of lawlessness that made fair trials elusive. Armed groups, families of the victims or the accused, and the public regularly threatened lawyers, judges, and prosecutors.

Amid threats, intimidation, and violence against the judiciary, the government did not take steps to screen detainees systematically for prosecution or release. The courts were more prone to process civil cases, which were less likely to invite retaliation, although capacity was limited due to a lack of judges and administrators.

POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES

Armed groups, some of which were nominally under government authority, held persons, particularly former Qadhafi regime officials, internal security organization members, and others accused of subverting the 2011 revolution, in a variety of temporary facilities on political grounds.

The lack of international monitoring meant that there were no reliable statistics on the number of political prisoners.

CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES

The Constitutional Declaration provides for the right of citizens to have recourse to the judiciary. The judicial system did not have the capacity to provide citizens with access to civil remedies for human rights violations. The 2013 Law of Transitional Justice provided for fact-finding, accountability, and reparations for victims, but the judicial system had not implemented it in practice. In civil, administrative, family, commercial, and land and property law matters, cases were heard and proceeded through the courts, but authorities were challenged in enforcing judgements due to lack of security, intimidation of armed groups, and intimidation from outside sources.

Impunity for the state and for militias also exists in law. Even if a court acquits a person detained by a militia, that person has no right to initiate a criminal or civil complaint against the state or the militia unless “fabricated or mendacious” allegations caused the detention.

F. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The Constitutional Declaration considers correspondence, telephone conversations, and other forms of communication inviolable unless authorized by a court order. Reports in the news and on social media indicated militias, gangs, extremist groups, and government-affiliated actors violated these prohibitions by entering homes without judicial authorization, monitoring communications and private movements, and using of informants.

Invasion of privacy left citizens vulnerable to targeted attacks based on political affiliation, ideology, and identity. Extrajudicial punishment extended to targets’ family members and tribes. Armed groups arbitrarily entered, seized, or destroyed private property with impunity.

G. Abuses in Internal Conflicts

Killings: There were numerous reports that government-aligned militias, antigovernment militias, and some tribes committed arbitrary and unlawful killings of civilians. Primary targets of killings included political opponents; members of police, internal security apparatus and military intelligence; and judges, political activists, members of civil society, journalists, religious leaders, and Qadhafi-affiliated former officials and soldiers.

On May 18, HRW reported government aligned forces attacked an LNA base and allegedly executed at least 30 captured individuals. According to HRW, on May 18, soldiers from the 13th Battalion aligned with the government attacked the base in Brak al-Shati, in the south, and executed troops from the 12th Battalion of the LNA. The prime minister ordered an investigation and the suspension of his defense minister and the commander of the battalion responsible for the attack. In November militias nominally aligned with the government were implicated in the deaths of 28 individuals during clashes between rival factions in Warshefana, an area in the west. UNSMIL expressed concern that some of these individuals may have been killed in a manner that violated international law.

The LNA, under Khalifa Haftar, continued attacks by ground and air forces against opponents in Benghazi, including terrorists belonging to or affiliated with ISIS or Ansar al-Sharia. While casualty numbers were uncertain, reports from media and NGOs estimated that Haftar’s campaign resulted in hundreds of dead and thousands injured, including civilians, since it began in 2014. On October 26, 36 bodies with signs of torture were discovered in al-Abyar in an area controlled by the LNA. The LNA reportedly initiated an investigation, but no charges had been filed at year’s end.

In June two videos emerged on social media depicting the apparent summary executions of six men in the east. On July 24, a subsequent video emerged appearing to show the execution of 20 individuals. In all the videos, Mahmoud al-Warfalli, an LNA field commander from Benghazi, was clearly identifiable. The same commander appeared in earlier videos of summary executions. The LNA announced it was investigating the allegations and suspending Warfalli, but LNA leadership publicly questioned the validity of the accusations and Warfalli continued to participate in LNA operations. There was no progress on the investigation at year’s end.

There were many reports on civilians killed during fighting in the country. In April UNSMIL and Amnesty International (AI) also reported indiscriminant and disproportionate shelling of the densely populated Benghazi neighborhood of Juliyana.

On October 30, air strikes killed at least 15 individuals, including at least 12 women and children, and injuring more than 23, in Derna.

There were reports of killings by unexploded ordinance. In June unexploded ordinance killed two men in Benghazi in the area of Qawarsha in two separate incidents.

Although exact figures were impossible to obtain, bombings and killings likely carried out by terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and their affiliates, resulted in civilian casualties. For example, on August 23, ISIS fighters shot and killed two civilians in an attack at an LNA checkpoint in Fuqaha, located in the Jufra province.

Abductions: Forces aligned with both the government and its opponents were responsible for the disappearance of civilians in conflict areas, although in most cases, the details remained obscure. In the eastern region, a campaign of killings, kidnappings, and intimidation targeted activists, journalists, former government officials, and the security forces. Kidnappings remained a daily occurrence in many cities. For example, on April 20, Salem Mohamed Beitelmal, a professor at the University of Tripoli, was driving to work when local militias abducted him on the outskirts of western Tripoli. On June 6, his captors released him.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Jailers at both government and extralegal detention centers reportedly tortured prisoners. The lack of full government control over detention facilities obscured understanding of the situation.

The extent of torture by members of terrorist groups and militias remained unknown, although some militias reportedly physically abused detainees. Individuals who expressed controversial opinions, such as journalists, suffered from violence. There were no developments in the case of Naseeb Miloud Karfana, a television journalist based in Sabha, killed in 2014 along with her fiance.

On October 26, the bodies of 36 citizens were discovered in al-Abyar in an area controlled by the LNA with signs of torture. The LNA reportedly initiated an investigation, but no charges had been filed at year’s end.

Child Soldiers: There were reports of minors joining militias, although government policy required proof recruits were at least age 18. There were multiple reports of underage militia enlistees; however, there was no verifiable information regarding any age-related requirements for joining. The government did not make efforts to investigate or punish recruitment or use of child soldiers. According to media reports, ISIS claimed to have been training children in the country for its operations, such as suicide attacks, firing weapons, and making improvised explosive devices. In 2016 the LNA claimed ISIS forced child soldiers from Libya and other Arab countries into a training camp in Sirte.

Also see the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: Additional abuses stemming from increased conflict included restrictions on travel, deliberate attacks on health-care facilities, and the forceful displacement of civilians. On July 4, the bodies of 19 Egyptian migrants, including one boy age 17, were found south of Tobruk, apparently having died after suffering from dehydration.

The LNA continued its siege of Derna in the east. The LNA launched airstrikes against Derna, established a total blockade of the city, and limited access to the city by medical and humanitarian organizations. The LNA justified its action because of the presence of ISIS militants within the city.

On March 22, AI stated that as LNA forces ended a multi-year military blockade of the Ganfouda neighborhood of southwest Benghazi, LNA forces killed and beat civilians and summarily executed and desecrated bodies of opposition fighters.


Libya and Human Rights

When reading the blogs about many others countries, I learned about the people rights as civilians. I think these top ten countries need the most help and support from the UN and other countries:

Tibet by Adraiana
By reading this blog, I can see that Tibet is a country with few rights, and under the rule of China. Though, it has a strong culture, we need to help them preserve it.
http://whumanrights.blogspot.com/

Sudan by Angelica
This country is currently facing many problems with human rights. I learned that they are being discriminated for their race and being abused. The government needs to pass laws to defend human rights and provide peace.
http://sudanhumanrights-hw.blogspot.com/

Egypt by Desiree
I believe this country needs help in becoming a democracy, because it is extremely important for people to have the right to vote and chose their leader.
http://desivegareyes.blogspot.com/

Iraq by Frankie
I think this situation needs to be paid attention because an important fact of a county's growth is its economy, and Iraq needs to improve it.
http://franko528.blogspot.com/

Italy by Gustavo
This is a beautiful country, but like Gustavo said it is important for it to be beautiful inside and outside. The racism needs to end and people should be accepted as they are no matter their religion, race and believes.
http://italy-italia-buongiornoprincipessa.blogspot.com/

India by John
I think this country needs urgent help, becase many people are suffering, especially women. Like John said women should be treated equally.

Indonesia by Lizbedy
We should provide aid to Indonesia, because it suffers from fairness nor there is freedom to chose religion.
http://lizlinviolet.blogspot.com/

Syria by Natalia
Like other Arab countries Syria is also fighting for their rights as civilians. They want a democracy and as Natalia said they also deserve to be heard.
http://mailyn12.blogspot.com/

Ivory Coast by Karolina
This country's current situation requires a lot of help from us and other nations. They need our support to stop the violence against the civilians, who most of them are innocent.
http://karosweet.blogspot.com/

China by Alberto
Even though China is known to be as a well developed and strong country, it also has its faults according to human rights. I think we can help the people of this country to create conscience about everyone's right to be treated fairly and not be tortured.
http://mysoulinanotherplace.blogspot.com/2011/04/human-rights-issues-of-china.html


Libya Human Rights - History

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 26, 1999.

The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is a dictatorship that has been ruled by Colonel Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi (the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution") since 1969, when he led a military coup to overthrow King Idris I . Borrowing from Islamic and pan-Arab ideas, Qadhafi created a political system that rejects democracy and political parties and purports to establish a "third way" superior to capitalism and communism. Libya's governing principles are predominantly derived from Qadhafi's "Green Book." In theory Libya is ruled by the citizenry through a series of popular congresses, as laid out in the Constitutional Proclamation of 1969 and the Declaration on the Establishment of the Authority of the People of 1977, but in practice Qadhafi and his inner circle control political power. Qadhafi is aided by extragovernmental organizations--Revolutionary Committees and a Comrades Organization--that exercise control over most aspects of citizens' lives. He has used extrajudicial killing and intimidation to control the opposition abroad and summary judicial proceedings to suppress it at home. The Government continues to repress banned Islamic groups and exercises tight control over ethnic and tribal minorities, such as Berbers, Tuaregs, and Warfalla tribe members. The judiciary is not independent of the Government.

Colonel Qadhafi publicly called for violence against opponents of his regime after violent clashes between Islamic activists and security forces in Benghazi in September 1995. Outbreaks of violence between government forces and Muslim militants have continued to plague eastern Libya since that time.

Libya maintains an extensive security apparatus, consisting of several elite military units, including Qadhafi's personal bodyguards, local Revolutionary Committees, and People's Committees, as well as the "Purification" Committees, which were formed in 1996. The result is a multilayered, pervasive surveillance system that monitors and controls the activities of individuals. The various security forces continued to commit numerous serious human rights abuses.

The Government dominates the economy through complete control of the country's oil resources, which account for almost all export earnings and approximately 30 percent of Libya's gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. In March 1997, Qadhafi announced that 75 percent of the 1997/98 fiscal year's budget will be spent on investment and development, but much of the country's income has been lost to waste, corruption, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction and to acquire conventional weapons. Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, the economy continues to be constrained by a system of extensive controls and regulations covering prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange. The Government's mismanagement of the economy has caused high levels of inflation, increased import prices, and hampered economic expansion, which has resulted in a decline in the standards of living for the majority of citizens in recent years.

The Government's human rights record remains poor. Citizens do not have the right to change their government. Security forces arbitrarily arrest, detain, and torture prisoners during interrogations or for punishment. Prison conditions are poor, and many political detainees are held for years without charge. The Government restricts freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion. Citizens do not have the right to a fair public trial, to be represented by legal counsel, to be secure in their homes or persons, or to own private property. There were reports of mass expulsions of foreign workers and residents to neighboring countries in 1997, and international observers believe that further mass expulsions are possible. Violence against women is a problem. Traditional attitudes and practices continue to discriminate against women, and female genital mutilation (FGM) reportedly still is practiced in remote areas of the country . The Government discriminates against and represses certain minorities and tribal groups. The Government restricts basic worker rights.

Libya continues to be subject to economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council in connection with the bombings of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988 and the bombing of UTA flight 772 over Chad in 1989. Libya made no progress in complying with the U.N. resolutions regarding the bombing of Pan Am 103. Libya mounted an aggressive international diplomatic campaign to have the U.N. sanctions lifted and violated U.N. sanctions prohibiting flights into or out of Libya four times during the year.

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Violent clashes between the security forces and militant Islamist opposition groups continued during the year. The clashes were predominantly concentrated in the eastern region of Libya and resulted in an undetermined number of deaths. In response to continued attacks against the regime and a prison mutiny that occurred in Benghazi in 1996, the Government maintained tightened security measures, made hundreds of arrests, and conducted military operations in the areas where insurrection occurred. Government forces killed a number of people, but there were no definitive estimates of the total killed in these attacks.

Qadhafi uses extrajudicial killings and intimidation to control the opposition abroad, and summary judicial proceedings to suppress domestic dissent. There have been reports of Libyan security forces hunting down and eliminating dissidents living abroad (see Section 1.b.).

A large number of offenses, including political offenses and "economic crimes," are punishable by death. A 1972 law mandates the death penalty for any person associated with a group opposed to the principles of the revolution, as well as for other acts such as treason, attempting to change the form of government by violence, and premeditated murder. The "Green Book" of 1988 states that "the goal of the Libyan society is to abolish capital punishment," but Qadhafi has not acted to abolish the death penalty and its scope has increased. In July 1996 , a new law went into effect that applies the death penalty to those who speculate in foreign currency, food, clothes, or housing during a state of war or blockade, and for crimes related to drugs and alcohol.

In January 1997, two civilians and six army officers were executed, the civilians by hanging and the army officers by firing squad at least five others were given prison sentences, all convicted on charges of being American spies, committing treason, cooperating with opposition organizations, and instigating violence to achieve political and social goals. The eight executed men were arrested with dozens of others in connection with a coup attempt by army units composed of Warfalla tribe members in October 1993. The men were convicted by the Supreme Military Court and they reportedly did not have lawyers for their trial. The convicted persons were allegedly kept in secret locations and tortured throughout their incarceration in order to obtain confessions of criminal activity.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions noted in 1996 "the apparent lack of respect for fair trial standards in trials leading to the imposition of capital punishment in Libya."

Libya continues to be subject to economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council in connection with the bombings of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, which killed 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground, and the bombing of UTA flight 772 over Chad in 1989, which killed 171 people. These U.N. Security Council resolutions require that Libya fulfill the following conditions: Ensure the appearance in a U.S. or Scottish court of those charged in the Pam Am 103 case cooperate with U.S., British, and French investigations into the Pan Am and UTA bombings pay compensation and renounce terrorism and support for terrorism. By year's end, the Government had not accepted a U.N. Security Council-endorsed initiative to try the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects before a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands.

Libya again failed to make any progress towards complying with the demands of the U.N. Security Council resolutions relating to the Pan Am 103 bombing. The Qadhafi regime undertook aggressive international diplomatic initiatives to garner support from international organizations and individual countries for proposals that would require the U.N. Security Council to negotiate Libyan compliance with the resolutions. As part of the Government's strategy of attacking the U.N. Security Council resolutions, the regime violated the sanctions against air travel to and from the country many times during the year Qadhafi was on two of these flights.

In 1996 the Government took limited steps to address the U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning the bombing of UTA flight 722. In March 1996, Qadhafi wrote a letter to French President Jacques Chirac pledging cooperation in resolving the UTA bombing short of extraditing the suspects or compromising Libya's sovereignty. France's chief antiterrorism magistrate, Jean-Louis Brugiuere, visited Libya in an effort to investigate the incident and concluded his investigation in May. Judge Brugiuere charged the second in command of the Libyan intelligence service, Abadallah Senousi (the brother-in-law of Qadhafi), with ordering the UTA bombing, and charged five other Libyan agents for their involvement. He identified the other suspects as Abdesslam Issa Shibari, Abdesslam Hamouda, Libyan diplomat Abdullah Elazragh, and intelligence operatives Ibrahim Naeli and Musbah Arbas. Judge Brugiuere issued international arrest warrants for the six Libyans and indicated that the suspects would be tried in absentia. A trial is expected in 1999.

In spite of the Government's violent repression of resistance, opposition groups continue to surface and stage attacks on Qadhafi and his regime.

The Libyan regime actively engages in the abduction and elimination of those persons whom Qadhafi calls "stray dogs," or political dissidents in exile. A number of Libyan oppositionists have disappeared inside and outside of the country's borders in recent years, and their whereabouts and welfare remain unknown.

In 1993 Libyan dissident Mansour Kikhiya disappeared from Cairo . There is credible information that following his abduction, Kikhiya was executed in Libya in early 1994.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Security personnel reportedly torture prisoners during interrogations or for punishment. Government agents periodically detain and reportedly torture foreign workers, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa. Torture reports are difficult to corroborate because many prisoners are held incommunicado.

Methods of torture reportedly include: chaining to a wall for hours, clubbing, electric shock, the application of corkscrews in the back, lemon juice in open wounds, breaking fingers and allowing the joints to heal without medical care, suffocation by plastic bags, deprivation of food and water, and beatings on the soles of the feet. The law calls for fines against any official using excessive force, but there are no known cases of prosecution for torture or abuse.

There is insufficient information to make a determination on overall prison conditions, but a mutiny in July 1996 at the Abu Salim prison was caused by inmates protesting poor conditions. The prisoners went on a hunger strike and captured guards to protest the lack of medical care, overcrowding, and inadequate hygiene and diet provided at the facility. Security units were dispatched to suppress the uprising and hundreds of persons were left dead after the week-long incident as many as 100 of them killed by security forces.

The Government does not permit prison visits by human rights monitors.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Security forces arbitrarily arrest and detain citizens. By law the Government may hold detainees incommunicado for unlimited periods. It holds many political detainees incommunicado in unofficial detention centers controlled by members of the Revolutionary Committees. Hundreds of political detainees, many associated with banned Islamic groups, are reported to be held in prisons throughout Libya, but mainly in the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. Many have been held for years without charge. Hundreds of other detainees may have been held for periods too brief (3 to 4 months) to permit confirmation by outside observers.

Security forces maintained their intense campaign to arrest suspected members and sympathizers of banned Islamic groups and to monitor activities at mosques following a continued series of violent clashes in eastern Libya (see Section 1.a.). In June at least 100 professionals in Benghazi and several other major cities were arrested on suspicion of political opposition activities, specifically support of or sympathy for the Libyan Islamic Group, an underground Islamic movement that is not known to have used or advocated violence. Some practicing Muslims have shaved their beards to avoid harassment from security services. Qadhafi has publicly denounced Libyan "mujaheddin" (generally, conservative Islamic activists who fought with the Afghan resistance movement against Soviet forces) as threats to the regime.

The 1994 Purge Law was established to fight financial corruption, black marketeering, drug trafficking, and atheism. Enforcement of the Purge Law by the "Purification" Committees began in June 1996 and continued through 1998 (see Section 1.f.). Scores of businessmen, traders, and shop owners arbitrarily were arrested on charges of corruption, dealing in foreign goods, and funding Islamic fundamentalist groups, and dozens of shops and firms were closed. As part of the campaign to implement the Purge Law, the wealth of the middle class and affluent was targeted as well.

In March 1997, the Libyan General People's Congress approved a law that provides for the punishment of accomplices to crimes of "obstructing the people's power, instigating and practicing tribal fanaticism, possessing, trading in or smuggling unlicensed weapons, and damaging public and private institutions and property." The new law provides that "any group, whether large or small," including towns, villages, local assemblies, tribes, or families, be punished in their entirety if they are accused by the General People's Congress or Committee of sympathizing, financing, aiding in any way, harboring, protecting, or refraining from identifying perpetrators of such crimes. Punishment under the Collective Punishment Law ranges from the denial of access to utilities (water, electricity, telephone), fuels, food supplies, official documents, and participation in local assemblies, to the termination of new economic projects and state subsidies.

The Government does not impose exile as a form of punishment to the contrary, Qadhafi seeks to pressure Libyans working or studying abroad to return home and the regime pursues dissidents in exile (see Section 1.b.).

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary is not independent of the Government.

There are four levels of courts: summary courts, which try petty offenses the courts of first instance, which try more serious crimes the courts of appeal and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level.

Special revolutionary courts were established in 1980 to try political offenses. Such trials are often held in secret or even in the absence of the accused. In other cases, the security forces have the power to pass sentences without trial, especially in cases involving political opposition. The U.N. Special Rapporteur has noted a lack of fairness in trials of capital cases (see Section 1.a.). In the past, Qadhafi has incited local cadres to take extrajudicial action against suspected opponents.

The private practice of law is illegal all lawyers must be members of the Secretariat of Justice.

According to Amnesty International (AI), approximately 22 persons were convicted and imprisoned for political offenses during 1995. AI estimates that there are at least 1,000 political prisoners.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The Government does not respect the right to privacy. Security agencies often disregard the legal requirement to obtain warrants before entering a private home. They also routinely monitor telephone calls.

The security agencies and the Revolutionary Committees oversee an extensive informant network. Libyan exiles report that mere family ties to suspected regime opponents may result in government harassment and detention. The Government may seize and destroy property belonging to "enemies of the people" or those who "cooperate" with foreign powers. In the past, citizens have reported that Qadhafi has warned members of the extended family of any regime opponent that they too risk the death penalty.

The law passed by the General People's Congress in March 1997 formally codified Qadhafi's previous threats of punishment for families or communities that aid, abet, or do not inform the regime of criminals and oppositionists in their midst (see Section 1.d.).

The 1994 Purge Law provides for the confiscation of private assets above a nominal amount, describing wealth in excess of such an undetermined nominal amount as the fruits of exploitation or corruption. In May 1996, Qadhafi ordered the formation of hundreds of "Purge" or "Purification" Committees composed of young military officers and students, and backed by thousands of Revolutionary Committees. The "Purification" Committees reportedly seized "excessive" amounts of private wealth from members of the middle and affluent classes the confiscated property was taken from the rich to be given to the poor in an effort to appease the populace and to strengthen Qadhafi's power and control over the country. The activities of the "Purification" Committees continued during the year.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The authorities tolerate some difference of opinion in People's Committee meetings and at the General People's Congress, but, in general, severely limit freedom of speech. This is especially true with regard to criticism of Qadhafi or his regime. Infrequent criticism of political leaders and policies in the state-controlled media is interpreted as a government attempt to test public opinion, or weaken a government figure who may be a potential challenger to Qadhafi.

The regime restricts freedom of speech in several ways: by prohibiting all political activities not officially approved, by enacting laws so vague that many forms of speech or expression may be interpreted as illegal, and by operating a pervasive system of informants that creates an atmosphere of mistrust at all levels of society.

The State owns and controls the media. There is a state-run daily newspaper, Al-Shams, with a circulation of 40,000. Local Revolutionary Committees publish several smaller newspapers. The official news agency, JANA, is the designated conduit for

official views. The regime does not permit the publication of opinions contrary to government policy. Such foreign publications as Newsweek, Time, the International Herald Tribune, Express, and Jeune Afrique are available, but authorities routinely censor them and may prohibit their entry onto the market.

The Government restricts academic freedom. Professors and teachers who discuss politically sensitive topics face a risk of government reprisal.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Public assembly is permitted only with regime approval and in support of the regime's positions.

Despite these restrictions, members of the Warfalla tribe staged several informal protests in 1995 to protest the regime's decision to carry out the death penalty against tribe members involved in the 1993 coup attempt. The Government responded by arresting hundreds of tribe members, and expelling others from the military and security forces. In January 1997, eight Warfalla tribe members arrested for involvement in the 1993 coup attempt were executed and at least five others were given prison sentences, allegedly for being spies (see Section 1.a.).

The last display of public discontent and resentment towards the Government occurred when a riot broke out over a penalty called at a soccer match in Tripoli on July 9, 1996. The rare instance of public unrest began when a contentious goal was scored by the team that Qadhafi's sons supported and the referee called the play in their favor. The spectators reportedly started chanting anti-Qadhafi slogans after the referee made the call and Qadhafi's sons and their bodyguards opened fire in the air, then on the crowd. The spectators panicked and stampeded out of the stadium and into the streets, where they stoned cars and chanted more anti-Qadhafi slogans.

The Government officially admitted that 8 people died and 39 were injured as a result of the soccer riots, but there were reports of up to 50 deaths caused by the gunfire and the stampede of the crowd.

The Government limits the right of association it grants such a right only to institutions affiliated with the regime. According to a 1972 law, political activity found by the authorities to be treasonous is punishable by death. An offense may include any activity that is "opposed to the principles of the Revolution."

The Government restricts freedom of religion. Libya is overwhelmingly Muslim. In an apparent effort to eliminate all alternative power bases, the regime has banned the once powerful Sanusiyya Islamic sect. In its place, Qadhafi established the Islamic Call Society (ICS), which is the outlet for state-approved religion as well as a tool for exporting the Libyan revolution abroad. In 1992 the Government announced that the ICS would be disbanded however, its director still conducts activities, suggesting that the organization remains operational. Islamic groups at variance with the state-approved teaching of Islam are banned.

Members of some minority religions are allowed to conduct services. Services in Christian churches are attended by the foreign community. A resident Catholic bishop, aided by a small number of priests, operates two churches. In March 1997 the Vatican established diplomatic relations with Libya, stating that Libya had taken steps to protect freedom of religion. The Vatican hoped to be able to more adequately address the needs of the estimated 50,000 Christians in the country.

d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government usually does not restrict the internal movement of Libyan citizens, but is known to impose blockades on those cities and regions (primarily in the east) where antigovernment attacks or movements originate. In 1996 after the escape of some 400 prisoners--during which residents purportedly harbored escapees--the town of Dirnah was sealed of by government troops and had its water and electricity cut off. The Government also requires citizens to obtain exit permits for travel abroad and limits their access to hard currency. A woman must have her husband's permission to travel abroad. Authorities routinely seize the passports of foreigners married to Libyan citizens upon their entry into the country.

The right of return exists. In fact, the regime often calls on students, many of whom receive a government subsidy, and others working abroad to return to Libya on little or no notice. Students studying abroad are interrogated upon their return. Some citizens, including exiled opposition figures, refuse to return. There have been reports of Libyan security forces hunting down and eliminating dissidents living abroad (see Section 1.a.).

The Government arbitrarily expels noncitizens (see Section 6.e.). There were reports that in April the Government accused at least 10 Tunisians suspected of membership in, or support for, the Islamist group Al-Nadha, which is banned in Tunisia for activities in opposition to the Tunisian Government, and forcibly returned them to Tunisia, where they reportedly were subjected to abuse. In 1995 the Government expelled approximately 1,000 Palestinian residents to signal its displeasure with the signing of the Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestinians were forced to live in makeshift camps along the Egyptian border. The Government allowed the Palestinians living in the border camps to return to Libya, but over 200 Palestinians elected to remain, hoping to travel to the West Bank and Gaza or resettle in Egypt. The governments of Egypt and Israel refused to accept the Palestinian refugees in 1996, leaving them stranded in the deteriorating and squalid conditions of the once-temporary border encampments. They were forcibly removed from their encampments to another location in the country by Libyan police and military authorities in April 1997.

The Government expelled 132 Algerians in November 1997.

The law does not include provisions for granting asylum, first asylum, or refugee status in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, and the Government does not grant such status. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that by April 1996, there were over 3,000 refugees of concern to the UNHCR in Libya, including some 2,000 Somalis, 750 Eritreans, 325 Sudanese, and 300 Ethiopians. The Government officially contacted the UNHCR liaison officer in Tripoli in 1995 in an effort to facilitate the repatriation of Arab and African refugees to their country of origin. The UNHCR assisted in the repatriation of 168 Eritreans and 129 Ethiopians from Libya in the first 4 months of 1996.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

Citizens do not have the right to change their government. Major government decisions are controlled by Qadhafi, his close associates, and committees acting in his name. Political parties are banned. Qadhafi appoints military officers and official functionaries down to junior levels. Corruption and favoritism, partially based on tribal origin, are major problems that affect adversely government efficiency.

In theory popular political participation is provided by the grassroots People's Committees, which send representatives annually to the national General People's Congress (GPC). In practice the GPC is a rubber stamp that approves all recommendations made by Qadhafi.

Qadhafi established the Revolutionary Committees in 1977. These bodies primarily consist of Libyan youths who guard against political deviation. Some Committees have engaged in show trials of regime opponents in other cases, they have been implicated in the killing of opponents abroad. The Committees approve all candidates in elections for the GPC.

There is no reliable information on the representation of women and minorities in the Government.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

The Qadhafi regime continues to prohibit the establishment of any independent human rights organizations. Instead, it created the Libyan Arab Human Rights Committee in 1989 the Committee has yet to publish any known reports.

The regime does not respond substantively to appeals from Amnesty International on behalf of detainees. In 1994 the regime described AI as a tool of Western interests and dismissed its work as neocolonialist. AI representatives last visited Libya in 1988.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on these factors. However, the Government does not enforce these prohibitions, particularly discrimination against women and tribal minorities.

Although there is little detailed information on the extent of violence against women, it remains a problem. In general the intervention of neighbors and extended family members tends to limit reports of domestic violence. Abuse within the family rarely is discussed publicly, due to the value attached to privacy in society.

The 1969 Constitutional Proclamation granted women total equality. Despite this legal provision, traditional attitudes and practices prevail and discrimination against women persists, which keeps them from attaining the family or civil rights guaranteed them. A woman must have her husband's permission to travel abroad (see Section 2.d.).

Although their status is still not equal to that of men, most observers agree that, with the advent of oil wealth in the 1970's, the opportunity for women to make notable social progress has increased. Oil wealth, urbanization, development plans, education programs, and even the impetus behind Qadhafi's revolutionary government have all contributed to the creation of new employment opportunities for women. In recent years, a growing sense of individualism in some segments of society, especially among the educated young, has been noted. For example, many educated young couples prefer to set up their own households, rather than move in with their parents, and view polygyny with scorn. Since the 1970's the level of educational differences between men and women has narrowed.

In general, the emancipation of women is a generational phenomenon. Urban women under the age of 35 tend to have more "modern" attitudes toward life and have discarded the traditional veil. At the same time, older urban women tend to be more reluctant to give up the veil or the traditional attitudes towards family and employment. Moreover, a significant proportion of rural women still do not attend school, and tend to instill in their children such traditional beliefs as women's subservient role in society.

Employment gains by women also tend to be inhibited by lingering traditional restrictions that discourage women from playing an active role in the workplace, and by the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalist values. Some observers have noted that even educated women tend to lack self-confidence and social awareness and seek only a limited degree of occupational and social participation with men.

The ambiguous position of women is illustrated by Qadhafi's own attitudes and utterances. His development plans have made an effort to include women in the modern work force, yet he has criticized women's emancipation in the West, including their employment gains.

The Government has subsidized education (which is compulsory to age 15) and medical care, improving the welfare of children in the past 25 years. However, declining revenues and general economic mismanagement have led to cutbacks, particularly in medical services. Some nomadic tribes in remote areas of the south reportedly still practice female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls, a procedure that is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health.

No information is available on the Government's efforts to assist people with disabilities.

Arabic-speaking Muslims of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry comprise 97 percent of the population. The principal non-Arab minorities are Berbers and blacks. There are frequent allegations of discrimination based on tribal status, particularly against Berbers in the interior and Tuaregs in the south. Qadhafi manipulates tribes to maintain his grip on power by rewarding some tribes with money and government positions, and repressing and jailing members of various other tribes. Qadhafi also attempts to keep the tribes disunited by pitting one against another.

a. The Right of Association

Independent trade unions and professional associations are prohibited, and workers do not have the right to form their own unions. The regime regards such structures as unacceptable "intermediaries between the revolution and the working forces." However, workers may join the National Trade Unions' Federation, which was created in 1972 and is administered by the People's Committee system. The Government prohibits foreign workers from joining this union.

The law does not provide workers with the right to strike. There have been no reports of strikes for years. In a 1992 speech, Qadhafi affirmed that workers have the right to strike but added that strikes do not occur because the workers control their enterprises.

The official trade union organization plays an active role in the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity. It exploits international trade union contacts to engage in propaganda efforts on behalf of the regime. The Arab Maghreb Trade Union Federation suspended the membership of Libya's trade union organization in 1993. The suspension followed reports that Qadhafi had replaced all union leaders, in some cases with loyal followers without union experience.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining does not exist in any meaningful sense because the labor law requires that the Government must approve all agreements.

There are no export processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

In its 1995 report, the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Committee of Experts stated that "persons expressing certain political views or views ideologically opposed to the established political, social, or economic system may be punished with penalties of imprisonment," including "an obligation to perform labor." The 1995 ILO report also noted that public employees may be sentenced to compulsory labor "as a punishment for breaches of labor discipline or for participation in strikes even in services whose interruption would not endanger the life, personal safety, or health of the whole or part of the population." The Government informed the ILO in 1996 that legislation was enacted to abolish these provisions, and submitted a report to the ILO, but the ILO has not yet commented on it.

There have been credible reports that the Government has arbitrarily forced some foreign workers into involuntary military service or has coerced them into performing subversive activities against their own countries. Libyans, despite the Penal Code which prohibits slavery, have been implicated in the purchase of Sudanese slaves, who are largely southern Sudanese women and children who were captured by Sudanese government troops in the war against the southern rebellion.

d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment

The minimum age for employment of children is 18. Education is compulsory to age 15.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The labor force is approximately 1.2 million workers (including 161,000 foreign workers) in a population of 5.2 million. Wages, particularly in the public sector, are frequently in arrears. A public wage freeze imposed in 1981 remains in effect and has seriously eroded real income. The average wage appears inadequate to provide a worker and family with a decent standard of living. The average wage is about $750 (270 Libyan dinars) per month at the official exchange rate, but is only worth $100 at the unofficial exchange rate.

The legal maximum workweek is 48 hours. The Labor Law defines the rights and duties of workers, including matters of compensation, pension rights, minimum rest periods, and working hours.

The Labor Law does not accord equality of treatment to foreign workers. Foreign workers may reside in Libya only for the duration of their work contracts, and may not send more than half of their earnings to their families in their home countries. They are subject to arbitrary pressures, such as changes in work rules and contracts, and have little option but to accept such changes or to depart the country. Foreign workers who are not under contract enjoy no protection.

In May 1997 the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, cited inadequate housing, threats of imprisonment to those accused of disobeying disciplinary rules, and accusations of causing a variety of societal problems as some of the problems in Libya's treatment of foreign laborers.

The Government uses the threat of expulsion of foreign workers as leverage against countries whose foreign policies run counter to Libya's. The Government expelled approximately 1,000 Palestinian residents in late 1995 to signal its displeasure with the agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and in May 1996, the regime threatened to expel thousands of Palestinian workers for political and economic reasons (see Section 2.d.).

Over 130 Algerians were expelled in November 1997 (see Section 2.d.).

Labor inspectors are assigned to inspect places of work for compliance with occupational health and safety standards. Certain industries, such as the petroleum sector, try to maintain standards set by foreign companies. There is no information on whether a worker can remove himself from an unhealthy or unsafe work situation without risking continued employment.

* The United States has no official presence in Libya. Information on the human rights situation therefore is limited.


Libya: The kidnapping of a human rights defender raises concerns and threatens the credibility of scheduled elections

On the evening of 3 June 2021, according to local witnesses, human rights defender and journalist Mansour Mohamed Atti Al-Maghrabi was kidnapped by individuals driving three Toyota cars in downtown Ajdabiya (Eastern Libya), near the local Red Crescent Committee. The cars, unmarked and without license plates, were last seen on the eastern gate of Ajdabiya, according to local witnesses. While as of now unconfirmed, the circumstances of Mansour’s abduction and the continued control of Ajdabiya by the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) point to the strong likelihood that he is being held by the Internal Security Services of Benghazi.

As such, our organisations urge you to take action immediately to disclose Mansour’s whereabouts and clarify whether he has been lawfully arrested. If he is being held in detention, he must be afforded access to a lawyer. Unless authorities are able to demonstrate that he is being prosecuted for a legitimate offence, the Attorney General must immediately order his release and allow him a medical examination to check for any ill-treatment or torture he likely could have been subjected to in detention. His abduction and enforced disappearance, without any warrant, must also be investigated by the Attorney General, and security officials implicated in the kidnapping must be held accountable, if it is the case. The Public Prosecution in Libya must be able to fulfil its role in monitoring places of detention and overseeing judicial proceedings throughout the country, without interference from the security establishment.

The disappearance of yet another Libyan rights defender and journalist is appalling, especially six months ahead of elections. The circumstances of the disappearance lead us to believe he is being targeted for his peaceful civil society and human rights work. This disturbing development stands in sharp contrast to Libyan authorities’ commitments within the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) Roadmap and the annexed Key Principles for human rights.

Guaranteeing the rights to free speech and free assembly and association is critical to ensuring the legitimacy and credibility of the December 2021 elections. Libyan civil society, including rights defenders, lawyers, members of the judiciary and journalists, must be protected by Libyan authorities and international stakeholders.

  • Front Line Defenders
  • The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  • The Libya Platform

Mansour Mohamed Atti Al-Maghrabi, 34 years old, is a human rights defender, journalist, blogger and head of the Red Crescent Committee and of the Civil Society Commission in Ajdabiya. He is also a producer of “Shatt al-Hurriya”, a comedy and satiric television series about everyday life in Libya.

Ahead of his enforced disappearance, the human rights defender led a conference on 31 May in Ajdabiya to raise awareness and mobilise citizens to participate in the upcoming elections on 24 December 2021. On 26 May, he also participated in a joint committee formed by the Civil Society Commission and the High National Election Commission, to prepare electoral monitoring by civil society organisations.

Mansour has repeatedly been harassed and summoned by eastern-based security services in relation to his civil society work. On 7 April, the Internal Security Agency in Ajdabiya stormed an event he attempted to organise about the elections, arrested and interrogated him for hours before releasing him. The event – the “Oil Crescent Youth Forum” gathered youth from the eastern oil crescent to discuss the importance of organising elections without delay and guaranteeing wide citizen participation and effective civil society monitoring. On 13 February 2021 and 24 December 2020, he was summoned for interrogation by the same services for his work with civil society, where he was accused of being a “dangerous individual” promoting “foreign agendas”.

Activists, human rights defenders and journalists continue to be harassed, threatened and intimidated regularly by state-affiliated armed groups in Libya. There are recurring cases of torture, kidnapping and killing, perpetrating a climate of fear and impunity.

On 20 October 2020, Mohammed Bayou, head of the Government of National Accord’s Media Office, with his two sons, was kidnapped by the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade (TRB) in Tripoli, and later released. On 10 November 2020, lawyer and political activist Hanan Muhammad Al-Barassi was assassinated by masked gunmen on 20th Street in central Benghazi, one day after she criticised military figures close to General Khalifa Haftar and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) on social media. Her children, Haneen and Ayman Al-Abdali, were both arrested and are now identified as suspects in the killing of Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the LAAF wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his responsibility in war crimes. Haneen was disappeared only hours after she mentioned the names of individuals she believed were responsible for the murder of her mother on a live broadcast.

On 2 December 2020, woman human rights defender Khadija ‘Andidi, coordinator of the “No Discrimination” movement in Ubari, was subjected to an assassination attempt, after she criticised online the storming of a neighbourhood in Ubari by the Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade – an armed group affiliated to the LAAF. On 25 December 2020, human rights defender Muhammad Radwan was arrested in Tawergha and transferred to Misrata without being informed of the reason of his arrest. He was eventually released on 26 December. On 11 March 2021, activist Zakaria Al-Zawi was disappeared in Benghazi, while on 27 March 2021, human rights defender Jamal Muhammad Adas was kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Tripoli.

The Internal Security Services of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) have been implicated in a number of unlawful arrests and disappearances. On 5 November 2020, in Ajdabiya, photojournalist Salah Munbeih al-Zway was arbitrarily arrested and then released by these services, based on vague and unsubstantiated charges of supporting terrorism, using Law n°3 of 2014 on Combatting Terrorism, which employs an overly broad definition of the terrorist act. On 30 June 2020, three people were kidnapped from the areas of Bin Jawad and Al-Nawfaliya, west of Ajdabiya, including the Director of the Bin Jawad Hospital, after their homes were raided by the Internal Security Services of the LAAF. In May 2020, journalist Ismael Al-Zoui was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Benghazi military court on similar terrorism charges, after his arrest by the same services. On 11 March 2020, an armed group, believed to be the anti-terrorism unit affiliated with the LAAF kidnapped an engineer from his workplace in Brak al-Shati. He was transferred to the Internal Security Services in Benghazi and reportedly tortured. His current location is unknown.

Armed groups throughout the country have paralysed the national judiciary through intimidation and violence. Between 2015 and 2020, the Libya Platform has documented seven paramilitary assaults on public prosecution offices and Libyan courts. In the same period, at least ten judicial personnel were abducted and subjected to inhumane treatment in connection with their work on criminal cases, three members of the judiciary were killed, and one judge survived an assassination attempt. On 26 February 2020, Judge Mohamed Ben Omar was forcibly disappeared from his home in the town of Castelverde his whereabouts are still unknown.

These continued arbitrary arrests and physical threats from state-affiliated armed groups are compounded by continued restrictions on fundamental public freedoms and civic space. Libya continues to enforce laws and executive decrees broadly violating freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, such as Law n°3 of 2014 on Combatting Terrorism, the 2001 Law on on the Re-Organisation of Civil Associations, Law 65 of 2012 restricting the right of peaceful assembly, and the 1972 Publications Law.

In addition, official and de facto executive authorities have exploited the political and constitutional vacuum to issue unlawful executive decisions and decrees that further constrain the exercise of the rights to free expression, association, and peaceful assembly, namely Decree 286 issued by the Presidential Council in November 2019, and decrees 1 and 2 issued by Civil Society Commission of Benghazi in 2016, both regulating civil society work. These executive authorities alone, absent any judicial oversight, have given themselves the power to license, dissolve, or suspend activities of civil society organisations, issue permits for demonstrations and gatherings, and authorise journalists, from both local and international outlets, to practice their profession. On 14 October 2020, the Tripoli Civil Society Commission issued a circular requiring all civil society organisations (CSOs) registered in the last five years to register again otherwise, they would be at risk of dissolution. When registering, organisations are requested to sign a pledge that they will not enter into communication with any international organisation without prior authorisation.


International Justice and the ICC

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Muammar Gaddafi who was sentenced to death in absentia by a Libyan court in 2015, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in attacks on civilians, including peaceful demonstrators, during the country’s 2011 uprising. Gaddafi’s whereabouts remained unknown.

Two other Libyans continued to be subject to ICC arrest warrants: Al-Tuhamy Khaled, former head of the Internal Security Agency under Muammar Gaddafi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between February and August 2011, and LAAF commander, Mahmoud El-Werfalli, for the war crime of murder related to several incidents in and around Benghazi between June 2016 and January 2018. Both men remained fugitives.

In September, two families brought lawsuits in the United States against Khalifa Hiftar, accusing his forces of atrocities during the months-long siege of Ganfouda in Benghazi in 2017 in which their relatives were killed. Previously, two families brought similar lawsuits against Hiftar for extrajudicial killings and torture of their relatives in eastern Libya by his forces.


Human Rights Violations In Libya

Libya joined the United Nations on December 14, 1955. As a prominent member of such world organization, the idea is to encourage and try their best to uphold the rules and laws set in place, not just as an independent government but also as part of a union and collective of world leaders who seek the greater good of its people and of those who step foot on their land

Today, migrants are flocking to Libya from surrounding countries in North Africa, many in hopes of one day make it to Europe. Whole families arrive with their children. They come from places where they may have experienced different forms of abuse, persecution, or in many cases extreme poverty. It’s the best way to make it to the E.U. where they hope to gain asylum and the beginning road to a better future.

Although Libya is currently divided as two rival factions fight for control, crimes committed by the UN-backed Libyan counterpart have not gone unnoticed. Multiple sources have reported that crimes are being committed against migrants entering from surrounding countries who seek asylum while undergoing the legal process. These crimes include but are not limited to torture, sexual assault, and forced labor by prison guards, coast guards, and smugglers.

Many displaced women and children also flee surrounding countries in attempts to avoid an old cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 million girls and women today have undergone FGM and 3 million girls are at risk. Many flee their countries in attempts to avoid such practice. Like many others, they go North and into Libya. But many of these women face a harsher reality when they arrive. A refugee and FGM survivor named Aisha speaks about the harsh circumstances she was put through in a Libyan detention center in an article published by UN News called “I lost my dignity in Libya”. Here she speaks about how Libyan authorities beat, and raped her repeatedly, every day. In an audio recording in the same article, she speaks about how she saw many women killed who refused to be sold for sex.

Chances of going through Libya and not being subject to any form of abuse seems slim to none. No one is safe. As men may be exploited for their labor, and women for sex, it’s hard to believe that these type of primitive forms of abuse still happen in this day and age. All this puts Libyan authorities in direct violation of article 14 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” which states the following….


D. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The Qadhafi-era criminal code remains in force. It establishes procedures for pretrial detention and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but often the interim government did not observe these provisions. Government-affiliated security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens indefinitely without formal charges. Throughout the year the interim government had little control over police and regional militias providing internal security. Armed groups carried out illegal and arbitrary detentions throughout the year.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS

Police reporting to the Ministry of Interior have responsibility for internal security. The military under the Ministry of Defense defends the country from external threats as its primary mission. The military also plays a supporting role for the Ministry of Interior regarding internal security. Civilian authorities had nominal but limited control of the hollowed-out police and security apparatus, and security-related police work generally fell to self-constituted, disparate militias exercising police power largely without training or supervision and with varying degrees of accountability.

On March 17, after the limited success of the SSC and pressed by increasing unrest in the East, the GNC issued Decision 27 ordering all armed groups not affiliated with the government to leave Tripoli. On June 9, the GNC issued Decision 53 instructing the government to disband all &ldquoillegal armed brigades and formations&rdquo and to present a plan for the integration of individual members into formal security structures by year&rsquos end.

There were some successes in the demobilization and integration of militias, such as in July when members of Libya Shield No. 409 dissolved their unit and handed over their weapons and military vehicles to the government at the air force base in Tobruk. Following the &ldquoGharghur Massacre&rdquo on November 15 (see section 1. a.), there was increased public pressure to implement GNC decisions 27 and 53 fully, and the government made some progress in demobilizing some militias. For example, on November 21 the Nawasi, Qaaqaa, al-Madani, al-Sawaq, and Quwat al-Rada brigades formally handed over their Tripoli headquarters to the national army, and Misrata militias withdrew in the same timeframe from Tripoli, in accordance with the law.

Despite some progress at achieving demobilization and integration of militias, it was unclear whether the government had ended its practice of turning to militias to maintain internal security in the absence of effective state-controlled police or military capacity. For example, the Zintan militia continued to provide security at Tripoli International Airport, the country&rsquos largest, throughout the year, although a transition to control by government authorities was in process at year&rsquos end. On March 17, the GNC ordered militias to leave Tripoli, but on August 5 the GNC president summoned them back to the capital to maintain order. The lack of effective control over these groups was evident when the Group for Crime Fighting, a unit loosely associated with the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Control Room, a body created by the GNC in July to coordinate militias in Tripoli, illegally apprehended the prime minister at his Tripoli hotel October 10. He was released hours later.

There were no known effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuses of authority, abuses of human rights, and corruption by new postrevolutionary police and security forces. In the militia-dominated security environment, a blurred chain of command led to confusion about the locus of responsibility for formal and less formal security institutions, even if they nominally were under government control. In these circumstances police and security forces were usually ineffective in preventing or responding to societal violence frequently incited by militia groups. Amid the confusion over chain of command and absent effective legal institutions, a culture of impunity prevailed.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

The law stipulates that an arrest warrant is required, but authorities can obtain permission to detain persons without charge for as long as eight days. The law also specifies that detainees be informed of the charges against them and that, for a detention order to be renewed, detainees must be brought before a judicial authority at regular intervals of 30 days. Law 38 also gives the government power to detain persons for up to two months if they were considered a &ldquothreat to public security or stability&rdquo based on their &ldquoprevious actions or affiliation with an official or unofficial apparatus or tool of the former regime.&rdquo Affected individuals may challenge the measures before a judge.

Following the revolution and attendant breakdown of judicial institutions and process, the interim government and militia forces arbitrarily detained persons and held them in formal and informal locations, including unknown locations, for extended periods without formal legal charges or legal authority.

Although the Constitutional Declaration recognizes the right to counsel, the vast majority of detainees did not have access to bail or a lawyer.

Incommunicado detention was a severe problem. Government authorities and militias held detainees incommunicado for unlimited periods in recognized, as well as unofficial and unknown, detention centers.

Arbitrary Arrest: The criminal code prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but the government did not observe these prohibitions. Arbitrary arrests were reported throughout the year and were employed by a range of often autonomous armed groups that conducted arrests without legal authority. While many militias nominally were under government control, they continued to carry out arbitrary arrests.

Although some detainees were released, at year&rsquos end the government and militias continued to hold a number of prisoners. A firm number was unknown but estimated to be in the several thousands. The interim government took no concrete action to reform the justice system and gaps in existing legislation and the unclear separation of powers among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches contributed to a weak judicial system. Very few detainees had access to counsel, faced formal charges, or had the opportunity to challenge their detention before a judicial authority.

Pretrial Detention: Militia groups detained most persons in detention without charges and outside the interim government&rsquos authority. With control of the security environment diffused among various militia groups and a largely nonfunctioning judiciary, most detainees were prevented from accessing a review process, meaning few detainees were formally held in pretrial status.

On September 22, the GNC created a new legal framework by passing the &ldquoLaw on Transitional Justice,&rdquo setting a timeline of 90 days from the date of its promulgation on December 2 for the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Defense to end the detention of those accused in relation to crimes under the previous regime, requiring detainees to be released or referred to public prosecution. By year&rsquos end implementation of the law had not begun, although the number of detainees held by militias continued to decline.

Amnesty: There was no explicit amnesty, but the government interpreted Law 38 of May 2012 to provide a blanket amnesty for revolutionaries&rsquo actions performed to promote or protect the revolution (see section 1.a.). Both domestic and international legal authorities maintained that the law must be read in conjunction with Law 35 adopted the same day, which provides that acts found to be in contravention of international human rights law covenants, such as rape and torture, are not exempt from prosecution. The possible contradiction between these two legal decisions, coupled with the government&rsquos weakness and disinclination to confront human rights abuses committed by anti-Qadhafi forces, resulted in the government&rsquos taking no action to address violations committed during the revolution.


Violence against women and girls

Women and girls faced sexual and gender-based violence from state and non-state actors, amid the authorities’ failure to provide them with protection and redress. Women and girls faced barriers to seeking justice for rape and other sexual violence, including the risk of prosecution for engaging in sexual relations outside marriage, criminalized in Libya, and revenge by alleged perpetrators. Women activists and politicians faced gendered abuse and threats online.

In April, members of al-Kaniat armed group abducted at least four women, probably in retaliation for their family's affiliation with the GNA.

In November, unknown gunmen publicly shot and killed lawyer Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi, a day after she posted on social media that she was going to release a video exposing LAAF leader’s son Saddam Haftar’s corruption. A vocal critic of the corruption of several individuals affiliated to the armed groups in eastern Libya, she and her daughter had been receiving death threats as a result.

Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice, including in matters related to marriage, divorce and inheritance. In October, the Libyan Supreme Judicial Council appointed five women judges for two newly created special courts in Tripoli and Benghazi to hear cases of violence against women and children. The courts were not operational by the end of the year.


Fuelling more violence

Ghassam Salame, special representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, reports that “external support has been instrumental in the intensification of airstrikes”.

The UN is currently investigating allegations that the United Arab Emirates has supplied Haftar with weapons in violation of a UN arms embargo, and French weapons have been found at a Haftar base. Meanwhile, Turkey is providing weapons to fighters from the GNA.

The G7 and the UN have condemned the violence in Libya. In practice, however, the actions of some of their members fuel the killing and prevent co-ordinated diplomatic action.

It’s often argued that Libya shows the need for more robust post-intervention planning of humanitarian military interventions. This is misleading. Instead, the situation highlights the need for new thinking on civilian protection.

The question of intervention usually emerges at that dramatic moment when civilians are at risk of extreme violence. Often brushed aside is the every day atrocity of the kind seen in Libya today: civilians at risk of starvation, death through treatable illness and killing at the hands of callous policies. This is not only an atrocity in its own right. As our research shows, it also creates an ideal habitat for mass atrocity crimes including genocide and ethnic cleansing. Instead of calling for military action when atrocity crimes occur, our focus should shift towards addressing the injustices that help create them.

Also forgotten is the role the international community plays in fuelling conflict through stoking division and selling arms. France provided Rwanda with weapons used to commit genocide in 1994. Claims that France also provided military training for perpetrators are under investigation by a French commission of experts. US and UK arms are being used against Yemeni civilians. Moreover, members of the international community have supported different sides in the Syrian civil war.


Libya Human Rights - History

The following is a letter submitted by the Libyan League for Human Rights to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 1996: Eighteen months ago, on 31 March 1995, we seized the opportunity offered by the third anniversary of the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 748 to write to the UN Secretary General about the League's concern regarding the reprecussions of that Resolution and its subsequent amendments on the enjoyment of human rights by the Libyan people. That resolution has erected new hurdles and added new threats to the remaining very few restricted minimum rights and freedoms that the Libyan government still permits Libyans to enjoy. We also explained to the Secretary General that the league is convinced that the place of trial of the Libyan suspects was important but not as primrodial as fair trial and independent Justice both of which are inexistent in Libya. Had Independant Justice and fair trial existed in Libya, in conformity with article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of which Libya is a party and also along the UN basic principles on the Independence of the Judiciary as adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 40/146 of 13 December 1985 freely voted by Libya, the present Resolution 748 and its subsequent amendments would not have been voted. Indeed, the free Judiciary would have automatically and impartially decided on the cases of the Libyan suspects involvement in the Pan Am and UTA unfortunate flights on the basis of facts and in accordance with law without restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures. threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter of any person.

The consequences of this flagrant injustice have been devestating on ordinary Libyan citizens who have lately been experiencing new deprivations and additional restrictions on their human rights. The government which alone stands accused is today more oppressive than ever. All human rights reports point to the fact that the arbitrary use of deadly violence by the official military force as well as by paramilitary organizations including "the Revolutionar Committees" and "the Purification Committees" has reached unprecedented proportions and that the rights of life has never been so threatened as it is now. They also point to the widespread use of torture and the generalization of random arbitrary arrest among all sections of the population and particularly young peoples including teenagers. All detentions are taking place, in view of the inexistence of Free Trial and Independent Judiciary , without any process of law and without charges being brought against the detainees. Their places of impisonment are unknown, in flagrant violation of the principles set out in the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners accepted by Libya in 1955, and none of the detainees have been permitted to contact lawers or even their families. No detainee has been brought before a magistrate or much less put to trial.

This is in brief the human rights situation in Libya whose people are being punished by the Security Council. It is an intolerable situation where people find themselves subjected to an oppressive military system of government that has during the last 27 years, openly confiscated their human rights without objection or even intervention from any quarter. Even the UN Centre for Human Rights does not seem to have given any importance to what has been happening in the Libyan field of human rights. In this respect the UN Centre for Human Rights shortcomings are cristal clear especially that Libya is a party to almost all instruments of human rights and should, therefore, have been held accountable for serious breaches of the letter of spirit of those instruments. The Libyan Government has been, throughout this period, known and even famous for its contempt of basic human rights as contained in the very instruments and conventions it has freely entered into. The Libyan President is the only chief of state on record to have called "on all people to throw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the trash can of history." The Libyan Government is the only government in the world to have adopted, openly, "the physical liquidation" and the killing of its political opponents as official governmental policy. In view of the astonishing passivity of the UN Centre for Human Rights. the moral consience of mankind in the field of human rights. The Libyan Government might have thought that the protective dam was breached and once the dam is breached, the current cannot be stopped anymore.

The accession of the Government of Libya to the many conventions and covenants does not and should not prevent the UN Centre from scrutinizing the actual imlementation of those conventions to assess the extent of the government commitments and the way these commitments are ben fulfilled. For instance it is obvious to anyone and specially to the UN high Commisioner for Human Rights that the Libyan government has been in constant violation of the rights contained in the (ICCPR) eo which Libya is a party, including the rights to free trial and independent Judiciaty (article 14), the right to freedom of expression (article 22), the right to genuine periodic election by universal and equal suffrage and secret ballot (article 25).

It is well known that none of these important rights have been respected or even less recognized by the very government that signed the covenant. As a matter of fact Libyans have been constantly denied all democratic and elective forms of participatio in the conduct of their country's public affairs throughout the last 27 years. During this period, Libya has been the only ICCPR state party where no elections at all, free or even phony, have taken place. It is the only country party of the ICCPR where the freedom of association is punishable by death by fire squad (Public Law No. 17 of 1972) and it is also the only member that rejects the very principles of constitution, basic law, separation of power, free speech, free trade unions, free press. etc. It is the country that has been known to use extensively the practice of torture during interrogation of prisoners and of punishment purposes despite its adherence to the "UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."

It is not, of course, our intention to enumerate the gross violations of the letter and spirit of international human rights covenants that have been duly signed and ratified by the Libyan Government. We have repeatedly called, during the last seven years of the existence of our human rights organization the Libyan League for Human Rights, on the government to change its oppressive policy of human rights by respecting its legal obligations under those covenants but to no avail. The Government has steadily refused our call for peaceful dialogue and democratic reforms. It is still refusing to look into our proposal to open the country's door to all Libyans and their various cultural, trade-union and political organizations so that they can participate, on equal footing, in the assumption of responsibiliy for the establishment of a modern Libyan State a state that respects human rights and the rule of law. The recent carnage in the Central Prison of Tripoli and in the stadium of Tripoli and the raging platent war against the civilian population in different regions of the country especially in the mountainous areas in the East indicate that the Government has chosen the continuation of oppression and violence and that respect for human rights is not yet on the agenda. The League deplores, of course, this position and take this opportunity to renew the call, through you, on the government to reconsider its decision with the view of instituting a true government of law emanating from genuine free national elections by universal and equal suffrage and secret ballot.

The League is convinced that the Libyan Government will not respond to any human rights calls or humanitarian requests as long as the de-facto comlacency manifested, during the last twent seven years, by the international community and the UN Centre for Human Rights is not shifted and adopted to the country's prevailing grave human rights situation. A more active approach to scrutinize the human rights situation, through direct inquiries and serious investigations, is urgently required if we were to save Libyans further sufferings. We strongly believe that the outbreak of miseries of the last few years in a country that is relatively rich would have not taken place had the UN Centre been more actively involved in the Libyan human rights situation. Even the sanctions voted by the Security Council would have been avoided had the Centre insisted that Libya strictly imlement all provisions of the conventions it has signed. We also believe that it is the Commissioner's obligation to inform the international community of the situation of human rights in Libya and to insure strict compliance by the Libyan Government to this undertaking. Given the long years of neglect by the Centre of the Libyan human rights situation, it is now too late apparently to prevent violations from becoming serious and widespread as they are already too serious and their practice generalized. We therefore propose,for the sake of optimal efficiency and in order to make up for past inertia, the immediate appointment of a Special Rapporteur whose mandate should include Inter-alia (1) the preparation of regular and ad-hoc reports on the present situation of human rights (2) regular review of the compliance of the Libyan Government with the various commitments it has freely made through the signing and ratification of the main human rights instruments and (3) observe and assist in the strict implementationof those instruments. Only through a long term appointment of suc a Rapporteur can one hope for a slow relief and gradual amelioration of Libya's human rights conditions.

In recent years, Libyans have been denied most of their rights and fundamental freedoms. And the ever-increasing repression has prevented the fulfillment of even their least aspirations in regard to freedom, dignity and development. We hope that through the appointment of a Special Rapporteur Libyans will resucitate their trust into the UN Centre for Human Rights that has forgotten their plights for so long.

The Libyan League for Human Rights take this opportunity to your excellency full success in endeauver to extend the enjoyment of human rights to all peoples including the Libyan people

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