UN rights chief condemns threats and attacks on Libya activists
UN rights chief condemns threats and attacks on Libya activists

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] on Tuesday condemned [press release] the targeted attacks on human rights groups and activists by armed groups in Libya. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official website] has received reports of intimidation, abductions, murders and harassment. Due to these actions by armed forces, many rights defenders and activists have either fled the country or gone into hiding. Many activists and human rights defenders have been threatened by attackers through text messaging and social media. Al Hussein stated in regards to the threats and attacks, “[v]ictims of human rights violations and abuses in Libya rely on these important actors to document and draw attention to their plight. The climate of fear created by such attacks, coupled with the total impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators, threatens to silence the few independent voices emerging from within the country.” Al Hussein has warned that those members of armed groups who have lead the attacks face accountability under both Libya and international law.

Libya remains politically unstable three years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed former dictator Gaddafi. In August the UN said that recent violence between Libyan political factions had been alarming and unprecedented in its gravity [JURIST report]. In a May briefing to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [JURIST report], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state.