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Libya: human rights abuses must be addressed, says UN probe

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© UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi – Migrants sit in the courtyard of a detention centre in Libya. (file)

New York, USA, 31 January 2023-/African Media Agency(AMA)/ Top UN-appointed independent rights investigators on Monday urged the authorities to share more information on mass graves and other serious crimes linked to the country’s civil war.

The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya was established by the Human Rights Council in June 2020, to investigate alleged abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed in Libya since 2016.

The panel’s latest official visit to Libya which ended on Sunday heard testimony from victims’ relatives of extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, human trafficking, internal displacement, the existence of mass burial sites and morgues containing corpses that families cannot access.

Justice long overdue

“The families of these victims have waited far too long for justice,” said Mohammad Auajjar, Chair of the FFM, which also includes fellow independent human rights experts, Tracy Robinson and Chaloka Beyani. “Libyan authorities owe it to them to share information about their loved ones, to meet them and give them answers. Silence is unacceptable.”

“We, too, have asked repeatedly for answers to the status of multiple investigations concerning serious human rights violations, but to date there has been no satisfactory response,” Mr. Auajjar added.

Ms. Robinson maintained that the State’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law “have not produced justice for the victims and their families”.

Call for release of Iftikhar Boudra

They also called for the immediate release of Iftikhar Boudra, who was detained in Benghazi four years ago, following critical comments she made on social media about militarization in eastern Libya.

Ms. Boudra is reportedly critically ill and her relatives say that they have not been allowed to visit her for months.

The Mission thanked the Libyan Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Libyan Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, for facilitating its visit, which included meetings with other senior officials including the Chief of General Staff of the Libyan Armed Forces, and the President of the Supreme Judicial Council.

© ICC – ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan visits the landfill site in Tarhunah, Libya, where over 250 have been identified across a number of mass graves.

Mission continues

The FFM welcomed the invitation from high-ranking Government officials to continue its investigations and its cooperation with the internationally-recognized Government.

The Fact-Finding Mission was established by the Human Rights Council in June 2020 with a mandate to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed in Libya since 2016.

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