Wednesday, October 27

UN mission reveals crimes against humanity against migrants in Libya since 2016

Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and prisoners have been victims of crimes against humanity for at least the past five years in Libya, according to the findings of a fact-finding mission created by the UN Human Rights Council, which has presented this Monday the result of their work.

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“Our investigations have established that all parties to the (Libyan) conflict, including third States, foreign fighters and mercenaries, have violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of proportionality and of distinction between civilians and belligerents,” the president revealed. of the group, the Moroccan Mohamed Aujar, at a press conference.

Migrants have been a group particularly exposed to widespread and organized attacks, not only by armed groups, but by the state itself, which encourages such abuses, the research shows.

The mission has worked in the last year collecting evidence on the abuses committed in Libya since 2016, in accordance with the mandate it received from the UN, although the conflict in Libya, its territorial fragmentation between different armed groups and the struggle of different factions for power can be traced back to the fall and death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The period over which the mission has investigated corresponds to the increase in the presence and influence of jihadist groups in Libya, including ISIS.

“Unbearable” conditions

According to the report, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have been victims of “a litany of abuse” either during their sea voyage and forcible return to Libya, or during their confinement in prisons or when they have been in the hands of traffickers. of people.

When in prison, immigrants and other civilians are victims of frequent torture and visits from relatives are not allowed, he stresses.

“Arbitrary detention in secret prisons and in unbearable conditions is routinely used by the State and the militias against anyone who is seen as a threat to their interests,” said the Jamaican prosecutor and academic, Tracy Robinson, a member of the mission.

“Violence in Libyan prisons is committed on such a large scale and with such a level of organization that they can also potentially be considered crimes against humanity,” the report states. It also accounts for the suffering of civilians as a result of the fighting in the country since 2016 and, more recently, during hostilities in the capital, Tripoli, between 2019 and 2020.

In these armed episodes, dozens of families perished in air strikes against residential areas, there was destruction of medical infrastructure and the anti-personnel mines left by the mercenaries caused injury and amputations to numerous civilians, he details.

According to the investigative mission, other human rights violations were the recruitment of children to participate in the conflict, as well as the forced disappearance and murder of prominent women activists.

The mission has indicated that it has identified individuals and groups (both from Libya and other countries) that may be responsible for the crimes that occurred since 2016, but that this list will be kept confidential until it deems it necessary to publish it or share it with other mechanisms that may do justice.

The members of the mission are expected to present their report to the Human Rights Council, which meets in Geneva, on the 7th, which will have to decide whether or not to extend the group’s mandate for another year to continue documenting the violations that occur. in the unfinished conflict in Libya.

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