Despite the limited financial resources available and the extreme caution needed to safeguard the safety of victims, #RoutesToJustice is moving forward! Our work, aimed at finding victims willing to come forward with their stories, has continued over the past few months: we have been able to secure more evidence and are now preparing for the cases. It’s a time-consuming activity, but documentation is a necessary step to litigation.
In January, we conducted a workshop on monitoring human rights violations in Tunis, in which we trained 19 participants from across Libya on best practices of documentation and witness interviewing, with a strong focus on victim-centred approach. The workshop’s participants are now working on monitoring such violations, in particular those perpetrated against migrants in Libya, and will produce regular reports providing updates on the situation on the ground, which will eventually feed our litigation work as part of #RoutesToJustice. Relevant parts of these reports will also be shared with you as part of our future updates.
Likewise, we have also recently started working on a project on enforced disappearances in Libya, which will complement the #RoutesToJustice project by addressing the disappearances of migrants in Libya.
In addition, we substantially progressed with our research project on modern slavery and forced labour. Together with SOAS Human Rights Law Clinic’s postgraduate students, we produced a report on the trafficking offences suspected to be taking place in Europe at the expense of migrants who have crossed through Libya. We are now translating the findings into an advocacy policy paper to serve as a basis when highlighting the need for guarantees of migrants’ human rights with relevant decision makers. Furthermore, the report provided us with a better understanding of the best way to bring cases on behalf of migrants against individuals and businesses practising forced labour and exploitation of migrant workers across Europe.
However, fighting for the human rights of migrants -in general and in Libya in particular- cannot be limited to litigation. An important part of the work is contributing to changing the idea that human rights and justice have no place in a conflict-torn country. This certainly makes the scope of our project wider and more complicated, but it also gives us an opportunity to have a stronger impact and achieve long-lasting change. For this reason, during our inaugural Annual Justice Lecture, organised in partnership with SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law, we tried to initiate an open and varied dialogue on justice and human rights in Libya. The Lecture was held by Pablo de Greiff, one of the world’s leading experts on transitional justice and the first UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, who explored what justice means in a context like Libya and how notions of transitional justice are useful in the non-typical scenarios we face today.
We are currently preparing our mission to Geneva, where we will attend the 40th ordinary session of the UN Human Rights Council to discuss the human rights of migrants in Libya and the Mediterranean with many relevant stakeholders, including governments, UN representatives (OHCHR, Special Procedures, UNSMIL) and NGOs.
Also, do you remember George the Poet and his incredible podcast exploring the modern slave trade in Libya? That was only the beginning of our collaboration: we are exploring new exciting opportunities, and can’t wait to share updates with you!
We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the project through GlobalGiving, however please don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list here to stay tuned and follow all of our work across our programmes. Many thanks again from all the LFJL team for supporting our work!