Routes to Justice for Migrants in Libya

by Lawyers for Justice in Libya
Routes to Justice for Migrants in Libya

Project Report | Jul 9, 2024
Updates on Routes to Justice, July 2024

By John Comai | Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Just a few days after LFJL’s last report on this project, Special Representative to the Secretary General Abdoulaye Bathily tendered his resignation, leaving the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) without a head executive. His remarks to the Security Council upon his resignation painted a bleak picture of the current Libyan political landscape, a scene riddled with bad actors occupying the chokepoints of power and refusing to humble themselves in the spirit of compromise. He discussed the continued suffering of migrants in Libya, pointing to the discovery of a mass grave site in the Southwestern desert containing the bodies of 65 migrants, and reemphasised the importance of regional and international cooperation on this issue. LFJL is working to ensure that, whoever the next SRSG may be, they centre human rights in the Mission’s programmatic work and directly address crimes against migrants in their communications with Libyan authorities.

Shifting focus to elsewhere in the UN, the Human Rights Council’s 56th regular session commenced in June, kicking off a session wherein a revisitation of last year’s HRC resolution on Libya came due. That resolution, which ended the Independent Fact-Finding Mission and encouraged the delivery of capacity-building assistance to the Libyan state, has been decried by LFJL and other human rights organisations who have repeatedly shown how this increased capacity is being delivered to Libyan authorities complicit in, or even directly guilty of, severe human rights violations, and does little to address the grave allegations contained in the FFM’s report. Nevertheless, general consensus on the suitability of technical capacity-building assistance remained largely unchallenged by states throughout the meetings.

As fighting rages in Sudan and millions flee, Libya has been added alongside Uganda into the regional refugee response team along with the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Huge quantities of Sudanese refugees coming into Libya has stretched resources thin, forcing desperate people into inadequate or no shelter and depriving them of proper medical care. UNHCR has registered over 20,000 Sudanese refugees who have entered Libya since April 2023.

International Advocacy and Accountability

We continue to engage with UNHCR on particularly troubling cases and to keep the situation of migrants in Libya high on their agenda. Since last report, we have collected details from a number of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya who have not had communication with UNHCR despite attempting to get in contact via official channels. We raised those cases directly with UNHCR officials and provided them with the migrants’ contact details so that they may be duly registered.

As for our accountability efforts, we are still carrying out investigations in the cases in the Netherlands related to the alleged human traffickers accused of committing severe crimes against migrants and refugees within Libya. The law team continue to identify victims and witnesses to interview and liaise with our in-country contacts to determine the best routes for taking these cases forward.

What’s Next?

LFJL will continue to fight alongside its partners and advocacy coalition members for a new investigative mechanism for Libya. We hope that the departure of SRSG Bathily will pave the way for a more considered and human rights-centred approach to dealing with Libyan authorities. We continue to engage with states and advise them on the best ways forward for attaining justice for those subjected to human rights violations in Libya- an essential pretext for an effective political solution and a lasting peace.

We are continuously documenting the testimony and conditions of migrants subjected to abuse by Libyan authorities and militia groups, raising cases with relevant international mechanisms, and advocating on behalf of the human rights of all migrants in Libya.

Thank you for your continued and generous support. To receive regular updates about the work we do across all of our programmes, you can subscribe to our mailing list.

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Apr 10, 2024
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Organization Information

Lawyers for Justice in Libya

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @libyanjustice
Project Leader:
John Comai
London , United Kingdom
$16,011 raised of $20,000 goal
354 donations
$3,989 to go
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