Libya: Towards Resolving The Humanitarian Crisis And Promotion Of Human Rights.
A New Coalition Of Libyan Civil Society Organizations Form The ‘The Platform’.
In September 2016, 16 Libyan Civil Society Organizations along the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), gathered for two days to formulate their work strategies, as well as their needs, challenges, and sustainable ways to collaborate. The Libyan organizations agreed on creating an independent entity, named ‘The Platform’, that convenes and unites their vision, and through which they can work collectively on addressing the human rights situation in Libya. The organizations were brought together by a common ground aiming to work impartially, far from political divisions and believe in allowing a safe space to draw joint and comprehensive strategies in order to strengthen public freedoms and human rights in the country.
The Platform’s vision is to create a safe space for Libyan civil society organizations working on the protection and promotion of human rights to engage in dialogue and coordination and aiming at raising the capacity of those organizations to actively promote public freedoms and human rights in the country. Furthermore, The Platform envisions the development of a joint strategy for change and impact on the national, regional and international levels.
The Platform’s Objectives:
- Breaking the isolation between civil society organizations working in the field of human rights, and defenders inside and outside Libya, and working towards a better distribution of roles between them.
- Creating a safe space for civil society members to engage in dialogue and critical thinking, with the purpose of developing a comprehensive vision for the implementation of a strategy of change and influence at all levels.
- Raising the capacities of Libyan civil society organizations to monitor and document human rights violations in the country.
- Bridging the absence of international mechanisms to document the daily IHRL and IHL violations in Libya by working to enable local professional groups to document and monitor the human rights situation in the country.
- Strengthening the capacity of Libyan civil society organizations to play an active role in local, regional, and international human rights advocacy.
- Supporting the effective participation of Libyan civil society organizations in adopting peaceful solutions and also in monitoring the implementation of relevant agreements. This support should also ensure civil society organizations’ involvement in the transitional phase, and in promoting a culture of peaceful coexistence and respect for the Rule of Law.
- Working towards ending impunity and fighting against hate speech and violence, and ensuring freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Protecting activists and the media from attacks, ensuring their safety, and guaranteeing a safe space for them to work freely.
The organizations ended their meeting by issuing the following recommendations:
- To the Libyan Presidency Council:
- End all grave human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and civilian infrastructure, and the targeting of civilians and besieged cities – and ensure accountability for those responsible.
- Enact measures necessary to ensure the safety and independence of judges, lawyers, judicial personnel, and citizens who seek justice and redress for violations against themselves and others.
- Release all detainees and prisoners held without legal grounds, take action to stop grave abuses such as torture and death as a result of torture in detention facilities, and bring illegal detention facilities under state control.
- Act to swiftly resolve the issue of disappeared and displaced persons, and comply with the legal deadlines set forth in the political accord to improve their conditions without waiting for the formation of a government.
- Work to quickly resettle displaced persons and migrants and resolve their security and occupational status.
- Guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly; protect activists, civil society organizations, journalists, and media outlets from attacks, guarantee their safety, and ensure a safe climate for them to work freely; and work diligently to fight hate speech and incitement to violence in the media.
- Restructure the ‘Civil Society Commission’ to ensure its unity, neutrality, and fiscal and administrative independence.
- Repeal Decrees 1/2016 and 2/2016 of the ‘Civil Society Commission’ regulating the operation of local and international civil society organizations. These decrees limit the freedom of association and contravene with international standards.
- Define objective, transparent standards for appointment to leadership positions while dismissing persons responsible for alleged violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, as well as persons wanted by the International Criminal Court.
- Enforce – in a coordinated, sound way – the temporary security arrangements set forth in the political accord.
- Reform the security establishment through a comprehensive transparent vetting process, and the implementation of temporary security arrangements, which include drafting appropriate plans for the restructuring of the security forces, including effective control and command measures based on an instrument that guarantees accountability for human rights violators.
- Swiftly appoint the board of the Fact-Finding and Reconciliation Commission provided for in the Libyan political accord, to be formed 90 days after the agreement enters into force.
- Undertake a process of transitional justice with the goal of ensuring victims’ access to judicial institutions and comprehensive, fair redress.
- Support local reconciliations, which lay the groundwork for comprehensive national reconciliation.
- To the Libyan House of Representatives:
- Adopt a statutory framework to regulate the operation of civil society associations that does not restrict freedom of association and is consistent with international standards, and repeal regulations and statutes that limit the operation of local and international NGOs and impose restrictions on them.
- Reconsider and amend the legislations that are not in line with international human rights standards.
- Swiftly reconstitute the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights to enable it to perform its missions.
- To the international community:
- Establish mechanisms to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the panel of experts formed by the Security Council and the report of the investigation mission of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, formed by a resolution of the Human Rights Council.
- Uphold the principle of accountability by calling on the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open a new investigation into ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity that fall within the court’s jurisdiction to put an end to the prevailing impunity in the country.
- Ensure that the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights continue to monitor violations in Libya.
- Strengthen the capacities of national institutions concerned with the protection of human rights in Libya and ensure their effectiveness and independence.
- The UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights defenders to spotlight the situation of defenders and the violations they face, and demand protection and support for them.
- Urge the House of Representatives to issue a decree reconstituting the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights, which completed its mandate on November 27, 2014.
- Pressure the House of Representatives to reconsider the general amnesty law in regards to war crimes and crimes against humanity – such as murder, torture, and rape.
- Pursue a unified, coordinated policy of supporting the Presidential Council based on building security institutions to ensure the sustainable eradication of the roots of terrorism.
- To the Security Council:
- Consider making the lifting of the arms embargo on Libya conditional on clear, specific standards linked to the reform of the security establishment and respect for the rule of law and human rights in line with international standards and monitored by civil society.
- To international organizations and donors to Libyan civil society:
- Increase coordination with Libyan civil society to ensure that the assistance offered corresponds to actual needs on the ground and covers shortages based on the priorities of Libyan civil society.
- Consider the priorities and needs of Libyan civil society organizations when designing training and capacity building programs, such that they correspond to actual needs and are organized in coordination with them.