UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore [official profile] addressed [text] the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council [website] on Tuesday speaking on the deteriorating human rights situation in Libya and calling for accountability and reform. She described the ability of armed groups to terrorize the nation by kidnapping, torturing and killing civilians based on political or familial affiliations. She noted that human rights advocates and media professionals face similar dangers. She claimed some of these groups have state ties, which pay them and enable them to carry out law-enforcement duties. Gilmore continued to highlight abuses by alleging the inhuman treatment of migrants. She urged the council to consider the “establishment of a special procedures mandate of an independent expert on Libya, to report on the situation of human rights and on progress made towards accountability.”
Libya has remained politically unstable since the 2011 deposition of Muammar Gaddafi [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war. In May International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told [JURIST report] the UN Security Council that justice and accountability were crucial aspects of achieving and maintaining peace in the country. Also in May Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] that Islamic State militants had executed 49 people in the Libyan city of Sirte since seizing control in February 2015. The UN released [JURIST report] a report in February detailing a “litany of violations and abuses” being committed by both state and non-state actors in the Libyan conflict that could amount to war crimes. In January the internationally-recognized Libyan parliament voted [JURIST report] to reject a proposal by the then-UN-supported unity government to curb the country’s political crisis.