Routes to Justice for Migrants in Libya

by Lawyers for Justice in Libya Vetted since 2018
Routes to Justice for Migrants in Libya

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 Lectureorganised 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. 

 

What’s next? 

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! 

Links:

Thanks to your generosity, we were able to continue building momentum and support for #RoutesToJustice. Over the past three months, the project team has continued to monitor the situation of migrants in Libya and undertake projects to raise awareness and improve their situation. Unfortunately, during this time period our capacity to take action was restricted due to limited funds.

However, we were incredibly lucky that George the Poet, a social commentator and recording artist specialising in musical poetry, dedicated an entire podcast episode on 20 September 2018 to the issue of slavery in Libya and highlighted LFJL’s work in this area. The show resulted in the podcast 'The Journey - Part II', which explores the modern slave trade in Libya, calls for grassroots action, and features Elham Saudi, LFJL's Director.

We were also fortunate to have Sirage Saudi and Nas Marref brave the parks of London and run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in pouring rain to raise much needed funds for #RoutestoJustice. We cannot thank them and their supporters enough for this kind act and generosity of time, spirit, and energy!

LFJL also continued to work on its Human Rights Archive project, which aims to create a digital archive of evidence related to human rights violations in Libya. LFJL held a workshop in November in Tunis with its network of on the ground partners to partner with them on archiving and documenting human rights violations in Libya, including in relation to human rights abuses against migrants.  

On an organisational level, LFJL welcomed a new Operations Manager and Programmes Assistant. We also launched our new Research Fellows Programme, which will be an integral part of its Research and Capacity Building Programme. The Research Fellows are senior researchers with expertise on a diverse range of subjects including international criminal justice, constitutional law and gender equality,with whom LFJL will engage to produce distinct pieces of research on a regular basis. Get to know more about our Research Fellows here.

During this time, LFJL has continued to monitor the political situation of Libya on a local and international level.  LFJL staff kept abreast of numerous new stories and reports that emerged over the months on the continuing plight of migrants in Libya and were particularly affected  by the news story of asylum seekers and migrants refusing to get off the boat to be sent back to camps in Libya. We are now looking into how to contact these people and what we can do to support them. We hope with your continued support that stories like this one will become few and far between.

 

What’s next?

LFJL is launching a joint research project with postgraduate students in the Human Rights Law Clinic at SOAS, University of London. The students will produce a report on slavery, forced labour, and trafficking offences suspected to be taking place in Europe involving migrants who have crossed through Libya. LFJL will investigate how to use the work to bring cases on behalf of migrants against individuals and businesses implicated in this action across Europe.

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!

#RoutesToJustice fundraising bake sale
#RoutesToJustice fundraising bake sale

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we were able to continue building momentum and support for #RoutesToJustice. Over the past three months, the project team worked to begin identifying victims and to document cases that support our planned efforts to litigate and provide redress to migrants who faced human rights abuses in Libya.   

 

We continued to monitor the situation of migrants in Libya closely and, in particular, noted the proposal made by Italy to EU heads of state for the creation of migrant reception and identification centres in Libya’s southern borders despite the high risk of human rights violations resulting. In our responsive statement, we called for all heads of government at the European Summit to reject the proposal and commit to a sustainable, human rights based approach to migration that places the safety, dignity and protection of migrants at its center. Director Elham Saudi commented:

 

Italy’s proposal neither resolves the underlying issues causing the migration crisis nor offers any prospect of support for those affected by it. Instead, it is an attempt to deter migrants through encouraging their containment at Libya’s borders in conditions that place them at high risk of severe human rights violations. This policy, which encourages human rights abuses against those who attempt to cross borders, is unethical, ineffective and unlawful.”

 

Recent months were marked by a series of international days promoting the human rights of refugees and victims of torture, the prohibition of trafficking in persons and the abolition of slavery. To mark the international days LFJL posted videos, statistics and legal analysis of the situation in Libya across its social media platforms in order to raise awareness of the human rights abuses faced by migrants in Libya as well as to increase the visibility of, and support for, #RoutesToJustice.

 

Offline, LFJL worked to engage members of the public through events and media. LFJL participated in the Ramadan Tent Project where it recruited supporters who were keen to learn more about the project and fundraised for #RoutesToJustice by holding a bake sale. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan guest spoke at one of the events that LFJL participated in and we were able to bring the project to his attention. We were also fortunate to be invited by George the Poet to attend two of his recent shows wherein he highlighted the need for #RoutesToJustice to his audience and allowed us to present the project to those who wanted to find out more.

 

On an organisational level, we recently announced the formation of our Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is tasked with guiding LFJL to achieve its mission statement: a Libya which embodies the values and principles of human rights and the rule of law and is a society committed to justice. The Advisory Board members’ formidable wealth of experiences, skills, and perspectives will undoubtedly be a huge asset in implementing our rights-based approach across all of our programmes, but we are especially excited about involving them in #RoutesToJustice. Read the Advisory Board’s biographies here.    

 

What next?

We have recently hired a new Head of Accountability who is a barrister qualified in two jurisdictions and who has significant experience litigating human rights cases across North Africa. She joins us from the middle of October and we are hugely excited to bring her onto the project. We look forward to sharing her biography and plans for the project with you in due course!

 

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!

Thanks to your generous support, we were able to launch #RoutesToJustice and lay the foundations for our planned casework at the African level.

In April 2018, LFJL attended the 62nd ordinary session of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the regional mechanism dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. Ahead of this mission, LFJL published its advocacy priorities for the session in a position paper highlighting the importance of promptly taking measures to end the dire situation of migrants in Libya.

During the mission, LFJL met with several Commissioners to discuss the human rights situation of migrants in Libya and put forward our recommendations put forward in the position paper. We took this opportunity to draw further attention to #RoutesToJustice and inform the Commissioners of our intention to submit cases to the ACHPR in order to provide redress to migrants who faced human rights abuses in Libya. We insisted that the failure of the Libyan state and the international community to address this issue urgently requires the ACHPR to adopt a resolution urging Libya to act to protect migrants.

“In Libya, migrants are subjected to widespread human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, forced labour, and sexual exploitation. Libyan authorities, empowered by European migration policies, implement a system of automatic detention for migrants considered as illegal. (...)Despite the outrage that the reports of slavery generated at the regional and international levels, the situation of migrants in Libya has not improved.

[From ‘LFJL’s priorities at the upcoming ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’, available here]

We further highlighted the importance of conducting a fact finding mission in Libya to identify these human rights abuses and violations. One Commissioner, supporting our call for a resolution, stated: “I believe and agree with you that, at this point, a resolution by the ACHPR on this issue is crucial”.

Following these advocacy efforts, the ACHPR adopted a resolution which includes the essential points we highlighted, meaning that international and regional stakeholders are seized of the issue of migrants in Libya. This is a positive step towards accountability for violations faced by migrants in Libya which would not have been possible without your help. Many thanks again for your support!

 

What next?

We are currently working with partners to plan joint outreach activities to raise visibility and awareness, in the UK and in Europe, of #RoutesToJustice and the situation of migrants in Libya. These activities aim to promote greater understanding of the root causes for migration and the crucial need for support to migrants. Through these activities, we aim to build an invested public that cares about this issue and motivated to contribute to #RoutesToJustice by pushing their politicians to enact change.

The coming months will be marked by a series of international days promoting the human rights of refugees and victims of torture, the prohibition of trafficking in persons and the abolition of slavery. They will provide a key opportunity to continue to raise awareness on the human rights abuses faced by migrants in Libya as well as to increase the visibility of, and support for, #RoutesToJustice.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the project through Global Giving, 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!

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Lawyers for Justice in Libya

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @libyanjustice
Project Leader:
Chloe Dennis
London, United Kingdom
$9,235 raised of $20,000 goal
 
107 donations
$10,765 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.