Libyan tribes army advancing toward Gharyan
[JURIST] Armed groups in Libya are deliberately attacking human rights defenders, according to a UN report [text, PDF] released Wednesday. Attacks have increased since fighting escalated in May 2014 and have been documented in a joint report [press release] by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official websites]. Attacks include killings, abductions, torture, unlawful deprivation of liberty and threats via phone and social media. Prominent civil society activist Entissar al-Hassaeri was shot and killed in Tripoli last month [UN report], and two members of the National Commission for Human Rights-Libya, a human rights NGO, were abducted in central Tripoli. Both individuals have been released, but other activists remain missing. Many activists are receiving threats against themselves and their families even after leaving the country. The National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights in Libya closed its offices in Tripoli in late 2014 as a result of such threats. Armed groups across all ideological, political and
tribaldivides are responsible for the attacks after many human rights activists were drawing attention to the widespread human rights abuses across Libya. The joint report stresses a need for stronger state institutions, especially in law enforcement and criminal justice. It also calls upon neighboring countries to issue emergency visas to threatened or attacked human rights activists.
In addition, the fighting continues in Obari in the south, threatening the social fabric of the city.
The Mission calls on the conflicting parties in Obari to cease the hostilities, and warns that attacks against civilians and violation of human rights are acts punishable under international law and perpetrators will be held accountable.
In Tripoli, two brothers of a member of the House of Representatives for Tarhuna, Abu Bakr Ahmed Said, were abducted by an armed group. The Mission condemns the abduction and calls on the security authorities on the ground and all the influential actors in Tripoli to do their utmost to ensure that they are unharmed and that they are released immediately.
UNSMIL stresses that the abduction for the purpose of putting pressure on the member of the parliament is an unacceptable act that could have negative effect on the political dialogue as Libyans try to find ways to end the conflict in their country.
UNSMIL calls on all Libyan actors to work towards de-escalation to give peace a chance.
by Patrick Poole