Human rights violations and impunity continue in Libya, reports UN team

These internally displaced women are transferred to a detention center in Tripoli, Libya, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya reported this Monday on the discovery of new mass graves in TarhunaLibya, and advanced some of the points of the report that in the coming days to Human Rights Council of the UN, to account for the continuous abuses committed in that country against children and adults alike.

At a press conference in Geneva, Mohamed Auajjar, president of the Mission, denounced the persistence of a culture of impunity in that war-torn North African nation, stating that this lack of accountability is “an enormous obstacle” to national reconciliation, truth and justice for the victims and their families.

In the section referring to Tarhuna, the report collects testimonies and finds evidence of “the widespread and systematic perpetration of forced disappearances, extermination, murder, torture and imprisonment” and underlines that all these actions constitute Crimes against humanity committed by the Al Kani (Kaniyat) militias.

Common pits

The president of the Mission pointed out that the investigations made it possible to identify “previously undiscovered mass graves in that city”, located about 65 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tripoli, through the use of advanced technology.

We don’t know how many bodies there may beNow we have to dig. But there have been hundreds of people whose whereabouts are unknown,” she said.

Auajjar detailed that more than 200 people are still missing in Tarhuna and its surroundings, causing “incalculable anguish to their families, who have the right to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.”

IOM/Safa Msehli

These internally displaced women are transferred to a detention center in Tripoli, Libya, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Women and girls in a country in crisis since 2011

women and girls they have not been spared the consequences of the destructive spiral since the oil country plunged into chaos and civil war when rebel forces backed militarily by a NATO-led coalition toppled President Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.

That crisis led to two rival groups to establish separate administrations: a government recognized by the UN and the international community in general based in Tripoli, and another in charge of the self-styled Libyan National Army.

Today, despite significant recent progress in trying to resolve long-standing differences, the Tripoli government is still at odds with a rival administration and a parliamentary authority in the east.

Among the many disturbing findings, the Fact Finding Mission report reports that when women organized to run in national elections – which had not yet taken place -, they became targets of discrimination or violence.

Some were kidnapped as part of the pattern of forced disappearances that “does not stop in Libya,” Aujjar emphasized, citing the case of parliamentarian Sihem Sirgiwa, kidnapped in 2019.

Discrimination and violence are a feature of everyday life for most women and girls in Libya,” Aujjar explained. “The Mission is particularly concerned that domestic law does not provide protection against sexual and gender-based violence as this lack contributes to impunity for such crimes,” he noted.

specialized courts

Despite the creation of two specialized courts for cases of violence against women and children, the Mission warned that the young women have faced “summary executions, arbitrary detentions, sexual and gender-based violence, and torture”.

these young they are often companions of migrant adultsrefugees and asylum seekers who have been deprived of their liberty and are in detention centers in Libya.

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