So far this year, LFJL has been focusing its efforts on investigating and documenting the human rights abuses committed against refugees and migrants in Libya, including human trafficking, with the aim of reaching accountability for these crimes.
LFJL is currently working on a joint project to document, analyse and seek accountability for the widespread human rights violations committed against refugees and migrants in Libya since 2011. As part of this project, LFJL has engaged with, and interviewed, refugees and migrants who went through Libya. Testimonies described how refugees and migrants continue to face arbitrary and indefinite detention, torture, extortion, forced labour and sexual and gender-based violence. As part of the protocol for interviewing survivors, we conducted a mapping of the psychosocial and legal services available for the refugees located across Europe and Africa, and established referral mechanisms in case the individuals that participated required further support.
Additionally, we are also working closely with an asylum-seeker from sub-Saharan Africa who was a victim of trafficking, arbitrary detention and torture in Libya. Together with a partner organisation, we are supporting them in seeking justice by preparing a case file for a submission to a relevant international mechanism.
Following up our social media campaign launched on International Migrants Day back in December, on Europe Day, celebrated on 9 May, LFJL drew attention to problematic European policies that trap vulnerable refugees and migrants in Libya. Such policies, aimed at keeping refugees and migrants away from Europe’s borders, violate European foundation principles of unity, inclusion and human rights. Libya remains severely dangerous for refugees and migrants, and we urge European governments and institutions to open safe and legal routes to Europe.
Finally, on 16 March, Libya’s third Universal Periodic Review came to an end with the adoption of the outcome report by the UN Human Rights Council. The outcome report outlined the recommendations made by other United Nations Member States on the measures that Libya should take to improve the human rights situation in the country, noting which recommendations Libya accepted and which they did not. Out of the 285 recommendations received, Libya only accepted 181 and noted 104. Many of the recommendations on protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants were not accepted by Libya, including the recommendation to end arbitrary and indefinite detention. By failing to accept these recommendations (or “noting” them), Libya refused to commit to take steps to implement them. In response, LFJL and other Libyan partner organisations published an open letter calling on Libya to accept all 285 recommendations, including to end the criminalisation of the entry, stay and exit of migrants and the resulting system of automatic detention.
Our work to investigate human trafficking and other crimes committed against refugees and migrants in Libya will continue over the coming months. Findings from our joint projects will be released later this year so keep an eye out for them.
We also hope to follow-up on our work with organisations working with refugees who have spent time in Libya, particularly those based in the UK, in an effort to help provide much needed support to survivors.
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