- 24 Feb 2016
- [International Secretariat]
- Region: SOCIALIST PEOPLE’S LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA
- Topic: Regional conflict
Urgent and sustained international support is needed to help end the cycle of chaos and rampant abuse gripping Libya, said Amnesty International on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that brought an end to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s brutal authoritarian rule.
Over the past five years Libya has descended deeper into the abyss of human rights chaos, amid lawlessness, rampant abuse and war crimes by rival armed groups and militias, and the rising threat posed by the armed group calling itself Islamic state (IS). Restoring the rule of law must go hand in hand with justice for widespread crimes and vital humanitarian support. The world must not fail Libyans in their hour of need.”
While France, Italy, Canada, USA, UK and other world powers eagerly got involved in the NATO intervention that helped overthrow Colonel al-Gaddafi in 2011 they have woefully failed to address the rampant abuses in Libya or push for investigations of these crimes.
The scale of abuse is staggering. Forces on all sides have carried out hundreds of abductions, taken hostages, tortured, ill-treated and summarily killed detainees, and launched indiscriminate attacks on residential areas in some cases amounting to war crimes.
Forces loyal to IS, have exploited the power vacuum created by the conflict to seize control of areas where they have terrorized the civilian population by enforcing their own interpretation of Islamic Law. They have carried out public lynchings as well as public floggings and amputations, and imposed a strict Islamic dress code on women.
Protracted peace process
A UN mediated peace deal brokered last December to end the violence plaguing Libya and form a Government of National Accord was backed by the international community as an effective means to create a centralized government capable of halting IS advances and tackling irregular migration to Europe. However, although the agreement was signed by all sides, its implementation is conditional on the formation of a unity government and restoring the rule of law.
Libya's justice system has largely collapsed meaning that widespread abuses have gone completely unpunished. Lawyers, judges, activists and human rights defenders face constant threats and attacks.
“The International Criminal Court offers a much needed path for accountability in Libya. States must increase their support to the International Criminal Court to finally enable it to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Libya.
Escalating humanitarian crisis
In the meantime, abuses have continued and the humanitarian situation has sharply deteriorated.
According to UN estimates, the violence has affected some 2.5 million people, and displaced more than 430,000. However, a UN humanitarian appeal to provide basic services to 1.3 million people in Libya has just one percent of the funds it requires.
Amnesty International is also calling on the international community to increase its support to people in need of protection by providing safe and legal routes out of the conflict. Since 2014, hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled abroad. Many are victims of abuses such as abductions, attempted assassinations or have faced threats.
The international community must share in the burden of addressing the crisis, and offer vital assistance to those in need of international protection by providing safe and legal routes for them to safety.
16 February 2016
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
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