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Middle East rights groups allege human rights violations in Libya

A coalition of Middle Eastern human rights organizations on Thursday accused all parties involved in the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder] of human rights violations [report, PDF] and crimes against humanity. Three organizations were involved in the fact-finding mission [press release] which resulted in the report: the Arab Organisation for Human Rights [advocacy website, in Arabic], the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the International Legal Assistance Consortium [advocacy websites]. The report alleges that all parties involved, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website], committed acts ranging from use of excessive force against protesters to cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners during detention. The rights groups recommend that Libyan authorities launch investigations into the conduct of all parties involved in the conflict. They also urged the UN and the international community as a whole to "provide training, support and other assistance to Libyan authorities and civil society to implement the goals" of section 12 of the UN Security Council Resolution 2009 [text in PDF]. Section 12 mandates the establishment of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) dedicated to the "promotion of the rule of law; promotion and protection of human rights, particularly for those belonging to vulnerable groups; and support for transitional justice."

Allegations of war crimes and human rights violations have been widespread during the conflict in Libya. In September the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] vowed to investigate allegations of human rights after Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] published a report [JURIST report] alleging that both sides of the Libya conflict are responsible for human rights abuses and warning the NTC to act quickly to investigate these allegations. In August, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Libyan troops used children as human shields [JURIST report] to deter attacks by NATO. Also in August, Libyan Prime Minister Al Baghdad Ali Al-Mahmoudi requested that the UN create a "high-level commission" to investigate alleged human rights abuses [JURIST report] by NATO.

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