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Human rights in Libya

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Human rights in Libya is the record of human rights upheld and violated in various stages of Libya's history. The Kingdom of Libya, from 1951 to 1969, was heavily influenced and educated by the British and Y.R.K companies. Under the King, Libya had a constitution. The kingdom, however, was marked by a feudal regime, where Libya had a low literacy rate of 10%, a low life expectancy of 57 years, and 40% of the population lived in shanties, tents, or caves.[1] Illiteracy and homelessness were chronic problems during this era, when iron shacks dotted many urban centres on the country.[2]

From 1969 to 2011, the history of Libya was marked by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (where jamahiriya means "state of the masses"), a "direct democracy" political system established by Muammar Gaddafi,[3] who nominally stepped down from power in 1977, but remained an unofficial "Brother Leader" until 2011. Under the Jamahiriya, Libya maintained a relatively high quality of life due to its nationalized oil wealth and small population, coupled with government policies that undid the social injustices of the Senussi era. The country's literacy rate rose to 90%, and welfare systems were introduced that allowed access to free education, free healthcare, and financial assistance for housing. In 2008, the General People's Congress had declared the Great Green Charter of Human Rights of the Jamahiriyan Era.[4] The Great Manmade River was also built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country.[1] In addition, illiteracy and homelessness had been "almost wiped out,"[2] and financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs,[5] while the nation as a whole remained debt-free.[6] As a result, Libya's Human Development Index in 2010 was the highest in Africa and greater than that of Saudi Arabia.[1]

Throughout Gaddafi's rule, international non-governmental organizations routinely characterized Libya's human rights situation as poor, citing systematic abuses such as political repression, restrictions on political freedoms and civil liberties, and arbitrary imprisonment; the American government funded Freedom House's annual Freedom in the World report consistently gave it a ranking of "Not Free" and gave Libya their lowest possible rating of "7" in their evaluations of civil liberties and political freedoms from 1989 to 2010. Gaddafi also publicly bragged about sending hit squads to assassinate exiled dissidents, and Libyan state media openly announced bounties on the heads of political opponents. The Gaddafi regime was also accused of the 1996 Abu Salim prison massacre. In 2010, Amnesty International, published a critical report on Libya, raising concerns about cases of enforced disappearances and other human rights violations that remained unresolved, and that Internal Security Agency members implicated in those violations continued to operate with impunity.[7] In January 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council published a report analysing the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya's human rights record with input from member nations, most of which (including many European and most Asian, African and South American nations) generally praised the country's progressive efforts in human rights, though some (particularly Australia, France, Israel, Switzerland, and the United States) raised concerns about human rights abuses concerning cases of disappearance and torture, and restrictions on free press and free association; Libya agreed to investigate cases involving disappearance and torture, and to repeal any laws criminalizing political expression or restricting a free independent press, and affirmed that it had an independent judiciary.[8]

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Constitution of Libya (1951)

Constitution of Libya (1951)

The 1951 Libyan Constitution was brought into force on 7 October 1951, prior to Libya's formal declaration of its independence on 21 December 1951 as a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris. The enactment of the Libyan Constitution was significant in that it was the first and only piece of legislation that formally entrenched the rights of Libyan citizens after the post-war creation of the Libyan nation state.

Feudalism

Feudalism

Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society around relationships that were derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. Although it is derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief), which was used during the Medieval period, the term feudalism and the system which it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people who lived during the Middle Ages. The classic definition, by François Louis Ganshof (1944), describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed among the warrior nobility and revolved around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.

Cave

Cave

A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground, specifically a space large enough for a human to enter. Caves often form by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can refer to smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, that extend a relatively short distance into the rock and they are called exogene caves. Caves which extend further underground than the opening is wide are called endogene caves.

Direct democracy

Direct democracy

Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the electorate decides on policy initiatives without elected representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are representative democracies. The theory and practice of direct democracy and participation as its common characteristic was the core of work of many theorists, philosophers, politicians, and social critics, among whom the most important are Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, and G.D.H. Cole.

Education

Education

Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty. Various researchers emphasize the role of critical thinking in order to distinguish education from indoctrination. Some theorists require that education results in an improvement of the student while others prefer a value-neutral definition of the term. In a slightly different sense, education may also refer, not to the process, but to the product of this process: the mental states and dispositions possessed by educated people. Education originated as the transmission of cultural heritage from one generation to the next. Today, educational goals increasingly encompass new ideas such as the liberation of learners, skills needed for modern society, empathy, and complex vocational skills.

Health in Libya

Health in Libya

A health care crisis currently exists in Libya due to the ongoing conflict.

General People's Congress (Libya)

General People's Congress (Libya)

The General People's Congress, often abbreviated as the GPC, was the national legislature of Libya, during the existence of Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It consisted of 2,700 representatives of the Basic People's Congresses (BPC). The GPC was the legislative forum that interacted with the General People's Committee (GPCO), whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It notionally served as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and was composed of the secretariats of some 600 local "basic popular congresses."

Africa

Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.4 billion people as of 2021, it accounts for about 18% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita and second-least wealthy by total wealth, behind Oceania. Scholars have attributed this to different factors including geography, climate, tribalism, colonialism, the Cold War, neocolonialism, lack of democracy, and corruption. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

Freedom House

Freedom House

Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 1941, and Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt served as its first honorary chairpersons.

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.

Abu Salim prison

Abu Salim prison

Abu Salim prison is a maximum security prison in Tripoli, Libya. The prison was notorious during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi for alleged mistreatment and human rights abuses, including a massacre in 1996 in which Human Rights Watch estimated that 1,270 prisoners were killed.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and supporters around the world. The stated mission of the organization is to campaign for "a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments." The organization has played a notable role on human rights issues due to its frequent citation in media and by world leaders.

Libya under Gaddafi

Revolutionary Committees

In the early 1970s, Gaddafi created the Revolutionary Committees as conduits for raising political consciousness, with the aim of direct political participation by all Libyans. In 1979, however, some of these committees had eventually evolved into self-appointed, sometimes zealous, enforcers of revolutionary orthodoxy.[9] During the early 1980s, these committees had considerable power and became a growing source of tension within the Jamihiriya,[10] to the extent that Gaddafi sometimes criticized their effectiveness and excessive repression,[9][10] until the power of the Revolutionary Committees was eventually restricted in the late 1980s.[10]

The Revolutionary Committees had been resembling similar systems in totalitarian countries; reportedly, 10 to 20 percent of Libyans worked in surveillance for these committees, with surveillance taking place in government, in factories, and in the education sector.[11] They also posted bounties for the killing of Libyan critics charged with treason abroad.[11][12] Opposition activists were occasionally executed publicly and the executions were rebroadcast on public television channels.[11][13]

In 1988, Gaddafi criticized the excessive measures taken by the Revolutionary Councils, stating that "they deviated, harmed, tortured" and that "the true revolutionary does not practise repression."[14] That same year, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya issued the Great Green Document on Human Rights, in which Article 5 established laws that allowed greater freedom of expression. Article 8 of The Code on the Promotion of Freedom stated that "each citizen has the right to express his opinions and ideas openly in People’s Congresses and in all mass media."[8] A number of restrictions were also placed on the power of the Revolutionary Committees, leading to a resurgence in the Libyan state's popularity by the early 1990s.[10] In 2004, however, Libya posted a $1 million bounty for journalist Ashur Shamis, under the allegation that he was linked to Al-Qaeda and terror suspect Abu Qatada.[15]

Foreign languages and migrant workers

Until 1998, foreign languages were not part of the school curriculum. One protester in 2011 described the situation as: "None of us can speak English or French. He kept us ignorant and blindfolded".[16] The US State Department claimed that ethnic, Islamic fundamentalist and tribal minorities suffer discrimination, and that the state continues to restrict the labour rights of foreign workers.[17] In 1998, CERD expressed concern about alleged "acts of discrimination against migrant workers on the basis of their national or ethnic origin", which the United Nations Human Rights Council also expressed concern about in 2010.[18] Human Rights Watch in September 2006 documented how migrant workers and other foreigners were subjected to human rights abuses,[19] which have increased drastically against black Africans under the National Transitional Council following the Libyan Civil War.[20]

Criticism of allegations

The Libyan Arab Jamhairiya rejected the allegations against the country. They pointed to how their country is founded on direct people's democracy that guaranteed direct exercise of authority by all citizens through the people's congresses. Citizens were able to express opinions of the congresses on issues related to political, economic, social, and cultural issues. In addition, there were information platforms such as newspapers and TV channels for people to express their opinions through. Libyan authorities also argued that no one in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya suffered from extreme poverty and hunger, and that the government guaranteed a minimum of food and essential needs to people with low incomes. In 2006, an initiative was adopted for providing people with low incomes investment portfolios amounting to $30,000 to be deposited with banks and companies.[21]

HIV trial

The HIV trial in Libya (or Bulgarian nurses affair) concerns the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV-tainted blood in 1998, causing an epidemic at El-Fatih Children's Hospital in Benghazi.[22] On 6 May 2004, a Libyan court sentenced the workers to death. They were eventually remanded to Bulgarian custody in 2007, and subsequently pardoned.[23] The Libyan government filed complaints about the matter with the Arab League before the government's overthrow in 2011.

Abu Salim prison massacre

In 2006, Amnesty International called for an independent inquiry into unconfirmed deaths that occurred in Abu Salim maximum security prison during the 1996 riot.[24] In 2009, Human Rights Watch believes that 1,270 prisoners were killed.[25][26] However, Human Rights Watch states that they were unable to independently verify the allegations. The claims cited by Human Rights Watch are based on the testimony of a single former inmate, Hussein Al Shafa’i, who stated that he did not witness a prisoner being killed: "I could not see the dead prisoners who were shot..."[27]

The figure of 1200 killed was arrived at by Al Shafa’i allegedly calculating the number of meals he prepared when he was working in the prison's kitchen. At the same time, Al Shafa'i stated "I was asked by the prison guards to wash the watches that were taken from the bodies of the dead prisoners..."[27] Al Shafa’i lives in the United States, where he applied for asylum, Hussein al-Shafa'i said he entered Abu Salim from 1988 to 2000 on political charges.

The Libyan Government rejected the allegations about Abu Salim. In May 2005, the Internal Security Agency head of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya told Human Rights Watch that the prisoners captured some guards and stole weapons from the prison cache. The prisoners and guards died as security personnel tried to restore order, and the government opened an investigation on the order of the Minister of Justice. The Libyan official stated that more than 400 prisoners escaped Abu Salim in four separate break-outs prior to and after the incident: in July 1995, December 1995, June 1996 and July 2001. Among the escapees were men who then fought with Islamist militant groups in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.[27]

In 2009, the Libyan government stated that the killings took place amid confrontation between the government and rebels from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and that some 200 guards were killed as well.[28] In August 2009, several were granted amnesty by the government. Those released included 45 members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), most of whom had been in prison since the mid-1990s after being sentenced in unfair trials for an attempt to overthrow then-jamahiriya leader Muammar. Gaddafi. The releases came after the group renounced violence in August 2009. Authorities at Abu Salim prison also released 43 "members of other jihadist groups," a press release said.[29]

In January 2011, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya confirmed that it was carrying out an investigation into the incident along with international investigators.[8]

The Libyan insurgents claimed that 1270 people were buried at a supposed mass grave they discovered.[30] However, investigators from CNN and other organizations found only what appeared to be animal bones at the site.[31]

Torture

In January 2011, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya stated that the practice of torture and ill treatment was forbidden in article 434 of the Penal Code, which stated that public officials who had ordered the torture of a person or had committed an act of torture were sentenced to 3 to 10 years' imprisonment.[8] Gaddafi openly condemned the use of torture, as a criticism against several Revolutionary Committees that had condoned the use of torture.[14]

Torture was allegedly used by Libya's security forces to punish rebels after the rebellion hit north west Libya during the civil war.[32] Torture has been used by rebel forces, who established unofficial detention facilities equipped with torture devices such as ropes, sticks and rubber hoses. The rebels have used torture against many suspected Gaddafi supporters, targeting black Africans in particular.[33]

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History of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi

History of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi became the de facto leader of Libya on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of young Libyan Army officers against King Idris I in a bloodless coup d'état. After the king had fled the country, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and established the Libyan Arab Republic, with the motto "freedom, socialism and unity".

General People's Committee

General People's Committee

The General People's Committee, often abbreviated as the GPCO, was the executive branch of the government of Libya, during the existence of Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It served as the intermediary between the masses and government leadership and was composed of the Secretary-General and twenty secretaries of some 600 local Basic People's Congresses (BPC), GPCO members were elected by the country's parliament, the General People's Congress (GPC), and had no fixed terms.

Direct democracy

Direct democracy

Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the electorate decides on policy initiatives without elected representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are representative democracies. The theory and practice of direct democracy and participation as its common characteristic was the core of work of many theorists, philosophers, politicians, and social critics, among whom the most important are Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, and G.D.H. Cole.

General People's Congress (Libya)

General People's Congress (Libya)

The General People's Congress, often abbreviated as the GPC, was the national legislature of Libya, during the existence of Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It consisted of 2,700 representatives of the Basic People's Congresses (BPC). The GPC was the legislative forum that interacted with the General People's Committee (GPCO), whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It notionally served as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and was composed of the secretariats of some 600 local "basic popular congresses."

Mass media

Mass media

Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets.

Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda, officially known as Qaedat al-Jihad, is a multinational militant Sunni Islamic extremist network composed of Salafist jihadists. Its members are mostly composed of Arabs, but may also include other peoples. Al-Qaeda has mounted attacks on civilian and military targets in various countries, including the 1998 United States embassy bombings, the September 11 attacks, and the 2002 Bali bombings; it has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, India, and various other countries.

Abu Qatada al-Filistini

Abu Qatada al-Filistini

Omar Mahmoud Othman, better known as Abu Qatada al-Filistini , is a Salafi cleric and Jordanian national. Abu Qatada was accused of having links to terrorist organisations and frequently imprisoned in the United Kingdom without formal charges or prosecution before being deported to Jordan, where courts found him innocent of multiple terrorism charges.

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. English is genealogically West Germanic, closest related to the Low Saxon and Frisian languages; however, its vocabulary is also distinctively influenced by dialects of French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

French language

French language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Islamic fundamentalism

Islamic fundamentalism

Islamic fundamentalism has been defined as a puritanical, revivalist, and reform movement of Muslims who aim to return to the founding scriptures of Islam. Islamic fundamentalists are of the view that Muslim-majority countries should return to the fundamentals of an Islamic state that truly shows the essence of the system of Islam, in terms of its socio-politico-economic system. Islamic fundamentalists favor a literal and originalist interpretation of the primary sources of Islam, seek to eliminate corrupting non-Islamic influences from every part of their lives, and see "Islamic fundamentalism" as a pejorative term used by outsiders for Islamic revivalism and Islamic activism.

National Transitional Council

National Transitional Council

The National Transitional Council of Libya, sometimes known as the Transitional National Council, was the de facto government of Libya for a period during and after the Libyan Civil War, in which rebel forces overthrew the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi. The NTC governed Libya for a period of ten months after the end of the war, holding elections to a General National Congress on 7 July 2012, and handing power to the newly elected assembly on 8 August.

HIV trial in Libya

HIV trial in Libya

The HIV trial in Libya concerns the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV in 1998, causing an epidemic at El-Fatih Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya. About 56 of the infected children had died by August 2007.

Civil war

Various states and supranational bodies have condemned the use of military and mercenaries against Libyan civilians during the Libyan Civil War, an allegation that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi denies.[34]

After an emergency meeting on 22 February, the Arab League suspended Libya from taking part in council meetings and Moussa issued a statement condemning the "crimes against the current peaceful popular protests and demonstrations in several Libyan cities."[35][36] Libya was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 65/265, which was adopted by consensus and cited the Gaddafi government's use of violence against protesters.[37] A number of governments, including Britain, Canada, Switzerland, the United States, Germany and Australia took action to freeze assets of Gaddafi and his associates.[38] The move was criticised as double-standard as numerous similar human right abuses in Bahrain, Yemen or elsewhere produced no action at all.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, estimated that between 500 and 700 people were killed by Gaddafi's security forces in February 2011, before the rebels even took up arms. "Shooting at protestors was systematic," Moreno-Ocampo stated, discussing the Libyan government's response to the initial pro-democracy demonstrations.[39]

Moreno-Ocampo further stated that during the ongoing civil war, "War crimes are apparently committed as a matter of policy" by forces loyal to Gaddafi.[39] This is further supported by claims of Human Rights Watch, that 10 protesters, who had already agreed to lay down arms, were executed by a government paramilitary group in Bani Walid in May.[40]

On 26 February 2011, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in a resolution to impose strict sanctions, including targeted travel bans, against Gaddafi's government, as well as to refer Gaddafi and other members of his regime to the International Criminal Court for investigation into allegations of brutality against civilians, which could constitute crimes against humanity in violation of international law.[41] There are many reports of these sanctions being broken where support against Libyan government forces is the case.

Rebel forces have been criticized for a number of human rights violations, including indiscriminate bombardment of heavily populated cities, torture and killing of prisoners of war, and racist lynchings of black people.[20][42]

In June 2011, a detailed investigation carried out by Amnesty International claimed that many of the allegations against Gaddafi and the Libyan state turned out to either be false or lack any credible evidence, noting that rebels at times appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence. According to the Amnesty investigation, the number of casualties was heavily exaggerated, some of the protesters may have been armed, "there is no proof of mass killing of civilians on the scale of Syria or Yemen," and there is no evidence that aircraft or heavy anti-aircraft machine guns were used against crowds. It also doubted claims from the Western media that the protest movement was "entirely peaceful" and "presented no security challenge."[43]

However, in a later report from Amnesty International it was found that "al-Gaddafi forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), including war crimes, and gross human rights violations,which point to the commission of crimes against humanity. They deliberately killed and injured scores of unarmed protesters; subjected perceived opponents and critics to enforced disappearance and torture and other ill- treatment; and arbitrarily detained scores of civilians. They launched indiscriminate attacks and attacks targeting civilians in their efforts to regain control of Misratah and territory in the east. They launched artillery, mortar and rocket attacks against residential areas. They used inherently indiscriminate weapons such as anti-personnel land mines and cluster bombs, including in residential areas."[44]

In July 2011, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had an interview with Russia Today, where he denied the ICC's allegations that he or his father Muammar Gaddafi ordered the killing of civilian protesters. He pointed out that he is not a member of the government or the military, and therefore has no authority to give such orders. According to Saif, he made recorded calls to General Abdul Fatah Younis, who later defected to the rebel forces, in order to request not to use force against protesters, to which Fatah responded that they are attacking a military site, where surprised guards fired in self-defense.[45]

In August 2011, Physicians for Human Rights released a report documenting severe violations of human rights and evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Misrata.[46] In December 2011, PHR released another report documenting evidence of a massacre at a warehouse in Tripoli in which soldiers of Khamis Qaddafi’s 32nd Brigade unlawfully detained, raped, tortured and executed at least 53 detainees.[47] PHR’s medico-legal investigation and resulting report provided the first comprehensive account of the 32nd Brigade massacre, and provided forensic evidence needed to secure accountability for crimes according to international legal standards.

In January 2012, independent human rights groups published a report describing the human rights violations committed by all sides, including NATO, anti-Gaddafi forces, and pro-Gaddafi forces. The same report also accused NATO of war crimes.[48] During and after the war, the National Transitional Council implemented a new Law 37, restricting freedom of speech, where any praise of glorification of Gaddafi or the previous government is punishable with imprisonment, with sentences ranging from three to fifteen years. The law was eventually revoked in June 2012.[49]

According to Human Rights Watch annual report 2016, journalists are still being targeted by the armed groups in Libya. One of the victims was Muftah Al-Qatrani, who worked for media production company, he was killed in Benghazi in April 2015. In other case, the fate of two Tunisian journalist, Sofiane Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, is still unknown since September 2014. Later, in April 2015, Groups affiliated with ISIS claimed the responsibility of killing them. In November 2015, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed that journalists in Libya were targeted in 31 incidents during 2015. The organization added that Libya has very low rank in the 2015 press freedom index as it occupied 154 out of 180 countries.[50]

August 2016, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor warned from the illicit spreading of weapons among Libyan population. According to the monitor, dozens of loosely formed, armed groups have formed, which makes a "chaos of weapons". The spreading of weapons represents a major obstacle to the reconstruction of Libya. It is also paves the way to murder, drug, arm trafficking and kidnapping. The monitor calls central authorities in Libya to act urgently, with the UN support to put an end to this chaos.[51]

December 2016, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor issued a report regarding the violation of human rights in Libya. According to the report, since July 2014, Ganfoda has been besieged by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army forces; the civilian has suffered long-month power cut, resulting in shortage of food, water, and medicine. As the civilians have been prevented from access to food and medical aid, more than 170 families were evacuated, yet the children are being used as bait by the Libyan army forces in order to prevent their families fleeing away to use them as a part of their militant operations. They are, therefore, at risk of detention and prolonged investigation, in case of attempting to cross the checkpoints. It also showed ambulance crews cannot enter the town due to ground and air attacks; and the Libyan Red Crescent Society cannot provide any humanitarian relief for the people.[52]

On September 21, 2020, the European Union Council imposed sanctions on three companies and two people, which were responsible for human rights abuses in Libya and violated the UN arms embargo. The sanctions consisted of asset freeze and a travel ban for persons, and asset freeze for the companies.[53]

On 25 July 2022, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, UN Assistant Secretary-General for political affairs and peace operations stated that the overall situation in Libya remains “highly volatile”, while clashes in and around Tripoli surged. Frustrated Libyans demonstrated over the lack of progress on elections and poor State services, prolonging tensions and fuelling insecurity.[54]

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Protests against the 2011 military intervention in Libya

Protests against the 2011 military intervention in Libya

Beginning on March 19, 2011, and continuing through the 2011 military intervention in Libya, anti-war protests against military intervention in Libya were held in many cities worldwide.

Supranational union

Supranational union

A supranational union is a type of international organization that is empowered to directly exercise some of the powers and functions otherwise reserved to states. A supranational organization involves a greater transfer of or limitation of state sovereignty than other kinds of international organizations.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi is a Libyan political figure. He is the second son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his second wife Safia Farkash. He was a part of his father's inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on his behalf. He publicly turned down his father's offer of the country's second highest post and held no official government position. According to United States Department of State officials in Tripoli, during his father's reign, he was the second most widely recognized person in Libya, being at times the de facto prime minister, and was mentioned as a possible successor, though he rejected this. An arrest warrant was issued for him on 27 June 2011 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for charges of crimes against humanity against the Libyan people, for killing and persecuting civilians, under Articles 7(1)(a) and 7(1)(h) of the Rome statute. He denied the charges.

Arab League

Arab League

The Arab League, formally the League of Arab States, is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Northern Africa, Western Africa, Eastern Africa, and Western Asia. The Arab League was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945, initially with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011.

Luis Moreno Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo is an Argentine lawyer who served as the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2003 to 2012. Previously, he played a major role in Argentina's democratic transition (1983–1991).

International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. It is distinct from the International Court of Justice, an organ of the United Nations that hears disputes between states. While praised as a major step towards justice, and as an innovation in international law and human rights, the ICC has faced a number of criticisms from governments and civil society, including objections to its jurisdiction, accusations of bias, Eurocentrism and racism, questioning of the fairness of its case-selection and trial procedures, and doubts about its effectiveness.

Bani Walid

Bani Walid

Bani Walid is a city in Libya.

Crimes against humanity

Crimes against humanity

Crimes against humanity are widespread or systemic acts committed by or on behalf of a de facto authority, usually a state, that grossly violate human rights. Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity do not have to take place within the context of war, and apply to widespread practices rather than acts committed by individuals. Although crimes against humanity apply to acts committed by or on behalf of authorities, they need not be official policy, and require only tolerance rather than explicit approval. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Initially being considered for legal use, widely in international law, following the Holocaust a global standard of human rights was articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Political groups or states that violate or incite violation of human rights norms, as found in the Declaration, are an expression of the political pathologies associated with crimes against humanity.

Anti-Gaddafi forces

Anti-Gaddafi forces

The anti-Gaddafi forces were Libyan groups that opposed and militarily defeated the government of Muammar Gaddafi, killing him in the process. These opposition forces included organized and armed militia groups, participants in the Libyan Civil War, Libyan diplomats who switched their allegiance from the Gaddafi-led government, and Libyan military units that switched sides to support the protestors.

Prisoner of war

Prisoner of war

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610.

Black people

Black people

Black is a racialized classification of people, usually a political and skin color-based category for specific populations with a mid to dark brown complexion. Not all people considered "black" have dark skin; in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification in the Western world, the term "black" is used to describe persons who are perceived as dark-skinned compared to other populations. It is most commonly used for people of sub-Saharan African ancestry and the indigenous peoples of Oceania, though it has been applied in many contexts to other groups, and is no indicator of any close ancestral relationship whatsoever. Indigenous African societies do not use the term black as a racial identity outside of influences brought by Western cultures. The term "black" may or may not be capitalized. The AP Stylebook changed its guide to capitalize the "b" in black in 2020. The ASA Style Guide says that the "b" should not be capitalized.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and supporters around the world. The stated mission of the organization is to campaign for "a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments." The organization has played a notable role on human rights issues due to its frequent citation in media and by world leaders.

Women's rights

As in many modern revolutions, women played a major role in the 2011 Libyan Revolution. After the revolution, concerns were raised by human rights groups about attempts to sideline women in Libya's political and economic environments as well as a lack of strong protections for women's rights in the new constitution.[55]

GNC opponents argue that it supported Islamist actions against women. Sadiq Ghariani, the Grand Mufti of Libya, is perceived to be linked closely to Islamist parties. He has issued fatwas ordering Muslims to obey the GNC,[56] and fatwas ordering Muslims to fight against Haftar's forces.[57]

Later in 2013, lawyer Hamida al-Hadi al-Asfar, advocate of women's rights, was abducted, tortured and killed. It is alleged she was targeted for criticising the Grand Mufti's declaration.[58] No arrests were made.

In June 2013, two politicians, Ali Tekbali and Fathi Sager, appeared in court for "insulting Islam" for publishing a cartoon promoting women's rights.[59] Under sharia law they were facing a possible death penalty. The case caused widespread concern although they were eventually acquitted in March 2014. The GNC yielded to pressure for organising new elections, voting 124 out of 133 in favour of a new Electoral Law on 30 March 2014.[60] In the 25 June 2014 elections, Ali Tekbali was elected to the new House of Representatives in the seat of Tripoli Central, with 4777 votes.[61] Out of 200 seats, Article 16 of the Electoral Laws reserved 30 seats for women.[60]

Protesters stage a large demonstration in Shahat against the GNC's mandate extension plan.[62]
Protesters stage a large demonstration in Shahat against the GNC's mandate extension plan.[62]

During Nouri Abusahmain's presidency of the GNC and subsequent to GNC's decision to enforce sharia law in December 2013, gender segregation and compulsory hijab were being imposed in Libyan universities from early 2014, provoking strong criticism from women's rights groups.[63]

On 15 July 2020, Amnesty International, urged the Libyan National Army to reveal the whereabouts of Siham Sergiwa, a Libyan politician and women’s rights defender who was violently abducted from her home a year ago.[64]

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Libyan coastguard's violation of migrants' rights

The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor published a report condemning the Libyan coastguard officers' whipping of a group of migrants rescued near Libya’s Sabratha. In September 2014, nearly 450 migrants were drowned in the Mediterranean. In 2016, more than 4,578 migrants drowned there, following an agreement between the EU and Turkey and the closure of the Balkan route. According to the report, the migrants smuggled into Libya are subject to human trafficking, torture, forced labor, sexual exploitation, and arbitrary detention through their way. The Libyan forces were caught on video while humiliating migrants, including women and children. Besides, Human Rights Watch documented similar cases in which Libyan coastguard forces assaulted them verbally and physically in July 2016.[65]

According to the UNHCR figures, as of March 2019, 879 people have been rescued at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard in 10 operations in 2019.[66] Around 6,000 migrants and asylum seekers are being held in Libyan detention centers. More than 3,000 are at a risk of getting involved in the fight over Tripoli.[67]

As per the report published by Amnesty International, migrants in Libya’s detention camp faced unabated human rights violations during the first six months of 2021. Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director was quoted as saying “The report also highlights the ongoing complicity of European states that have shamefully continued to enable and assist Libyan coastguards in capturing people at sea and forcibly returning them to the hellscape of detention in Libya, despite knowing full well the horrors they will endure.”[68]

On 11 October 2022, UN human rights reported that migrants in Libya were often compelled to accept ‘assisted return’ to their home countries in conditions that may not meet international human rights laws and standards. Additionally, the report finds that many migrants were returned to the same adverse drivers and structural conditions which compelled their movement in the first place, putting them in precarious and vulnerable situations upon their return. Such returns were unlikely to be sustainable from a human rights perspective.[69]

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Libya

Libya

Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. Libya is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 700,000 square miles, it is the fourth-largest country in Africa and the Arab world, and the 16th-largest in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over three million of Libya's seven million people.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants, and political prisoners.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations agency mandated to aid and protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with over 17,300 staff working in 135 countries.

Detention Centres in Libya

Detention Centres in Libya

Detention centres in Libya, are criminal enterprises run by gangs of people-traffickers and kidnappers for profit.

Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli is the capital and largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.1 million people in 2019. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing center. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and supporters around the world. The stated mission of the organization is to campaign for "a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments." The organization has played a notable role on human rights issues due to its frequent citation in media and by world leaders.

United Nations

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It is the world's largest and most familiar international organization. The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City, and has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, and The Hague.

Historical situation

Country ratings from Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2016 survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2015.[70] .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Free (86)   Partly Free (59)   Not Free (50)
Country ratings from Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2016 survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2015.[70]
  Free (86)   Partly Free (59)   Not Free (50)

The following table shows Libya's ratings since 1972 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by the US government-funded Freedom House. A score of 1 is "best"; 7 is "worst".[71][72]

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Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.

Freedom House

Freedom House

Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 1941, and Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt served as its first honorary chairpersons.

List of heads of state of Libya

List of heads of state of Libya

This article lists the heads of state of Libya since the country's independence in 1951.

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He was the de facto leader of Libya from 1969 to 2011, first as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the Brotherly Leader of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. Initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, he later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil

Mustafa Abdul Jalil

Mustafa Abdul Jalil is a Libyan politician who was the Chairman of the National Transitional Council from 5 March 2011 until its dissolution on 8 August 2012. This position meant he was de facto head of state during a transitional period after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's government in the Libyan Civil War, and until the handover of power to the General National Congress.

Mohammed Magariaf

Mohammed Magariaf

Mohammed Yousef el-Magariaf or, as he writes on his official website, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Al Magariaf, is a Libyan politician who served as the President of the General National Congress from its first meeting in August 2012 until his resignation in May 2013. In this role he was effectively Libya's de facto head of state, until his resignation in May 2013.

Nouri Abusahmain

Nouri Abusahmain

Nouri Abusahmain is a Libyan politician. He is a major figure on the Islamist side of the 2014 Libyan Conflict and founder of the LROR group which is considered "terrorist" by the internationally recognized Libyan parliament. He is reported to have rigged proceedings of the General National Congress while serving as its president.

Aguila Saleh Issa

Aguila Saleh Issa

Aguila Saleh Issa is a Libyan jurist and politician who is the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives since 5 August 2014. He is also a representative of the town of Al Qubbah, in the east of the country.

International treaties

Libya's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:

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International human rights law

International human rights law

International human rights law (IHRL) is the body of international law designed to promote human rights on social, regional, and domestic levels. As a form of international law, international human rights law are primarily made up of treaties, agreements between sovereign states intended to have binding legal effect between the parties that have agreed to them; and customary international law. Other international human rights instruments, while not legally binding, contribute to the implementation, understanding and development of international human rights law and have been recognized as a source of political obligation.

United Nations

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It is the world's largest and most familiar international organization. The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City, and has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, and The Hague.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is a United Nations convention. A third-generation human rights instrument, the Convention commits its members to the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of understanding among all races. The Convention also requires its parties to criminalize hate speech and criminalize membership in racist organizations.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (GA) on 16 December 1966 through GA. Resolution 2200A (XXI), and came in force from 3 January 1976. It commits its parties to work toward the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) to the Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories and individuals, including labour rights and the right to health, the right to education, and the right to an adequate standard of living. As of July 2020, the Covenant has 171 parties. A further four countries, including the United States, have signed but not ratified the Covenant.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty that commits nations to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. It was adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966 and entered into force 23 March 1976 after its thirty-fifth ratification or accession. As of June 2022, the Covenant has 173 parties and six more signatories without ratification, most notably the People's Republic of China and Cuba; North Korea is the only state that has tried to withdraw.

First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an international treaty establishing an individual complaint mechanism for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16/12/1966, and entered into force on 23/03/1976. As of 05/2020, it had 116 state parties and 35 signatories. Two of the ratifying states have denounced the protocol.

Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

The Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by United Nations General Assembly resolution 2391 (XXIII) of 26 November 1968. Pursuant to the provisions of its Article VIII, it came into force on 11 November 1970.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation.

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW) is an international treaty which establishes complaint and inquiry mechanisms for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Parties to the Protocol allow the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to hear complaints from individuals or inquire into "grave or systematic violations" of the convention. The Protocol has led to a number of decisions against member states on issues such as domestic violence, parental leave and forced sterilization, as well as an investigation into the systematic killing of women in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full equality under the law. The Convention serves as a major catalyst in the global disability rights movement enabling a shift from viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing them as full and equal members of society, with human rights. The convention was the first U.N. human rights treaty of the twenty-first century.

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a side-agreement to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was adopted on 13 December 2006, and entered into force at the same time as its parent Convention on 3 May 2008. As of December 2021, it has 94 signatories and 100 state parties.

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to prevent forced disappearance, which, as defined in international law, is part of crimes against humanity. The text was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2006 and opened for signature on 6 February 2007. It entered into force on 23 December 2010. As of November 2022, 98 states have signed the convention and 68 have ratified it.

Source: "Human rights in Libya", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Libya.

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See also
Notes
1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the year the report was issued. The information for the year marked 2009 covers the year 2008, and so on.
2.^ As of 1 January.
3.^ The 1982 report covers 1981 and the first half of 1982, and the following 1984 report covers the second half of 1982 and the whole of 1983. In the interest of simplicity, these two aberrant "year and a half" reports have been split into three-year-long reports through interpolation.
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