Since our last project report, LFJL has continued to investigate and document the human rights abuses committed against refugees and migrants in Libya. Our investigations have focused on a variety of incidents including an explosion at a migrant detention centre in Gharyan on 20 June 2021, reportedly caused by ammunition that was being stored at the centre. We have also been investigating a decision issued by the Municipality of Zuwara in July in which migrants were given 10 days to either settle their status or leave the city. Reportedly, after the decision and the 10-day notice period, between 60 and 80 migrants were arbitrarily arrested in the city.
In June, LFJL made a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Committee with partner REDRESS requesting reparation from Libya for an Eritrean asylum-seeker who was a victim of torture and other grave human rights violations whilst being arbitrarily detained in the country. The submission also recommended that, to ensure such acts do not happen again, Libya should adopt legislation to prevent violations against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and train public officials on their rights.
LFJL also recently made a submission to the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (FFM) and encouraged and supported other Libyan civil society organisations in making their own submissions to the UN body, which was established in June 2020 to document violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties involved in Libya since the beginning of 2016. LFJL’s submission included documentation of violations and abuses committed against refugees and migrants, including human trafficking and war crimes. As a key step towards accountability in Libya, LFJL has recently emphasized the critical need for the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the FFM later this month.
On 20 June, LFJL marked World Refugee Day with a social media campaign underlining that international protection should be guaranteed for refugees and migrants fleeing human rights violations in Libya. The campaign drew attention to the spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention and called on European States, most of which adopted the Convention, and the Libyan authorities to immediately stop returns to Libya and provide safe and legal passage to Europe.
In a webinar hosted by Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor on 30 July, Senior Programmes Officer, Elise Flecher discussed impunity in Libya and the role of the EU and the UN, particularly with regards to the arms embargo and the situation of refugees and migrants. She reiterated the importance of implementing proactive search and rescue missions by European states of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean and ensuring that cooperation with the Libyan authorities is contingent on human rights guarantees.
Our work to document and seek accountability for human trafficking and other human rights violations committed against refugees and migrants in Libya is set to continue over the coming months. We are currently preparing a legal submission to an international body and will be releasing a public report detailing our findings before the end of the year.
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