from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya wound up its operations in the North African country but perpetrators of serious crimes are not off the hook.
Instead, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) aims to intensify its efforts as the human rights situation continues to deteriorate amid widespread violence by armed actors, ongoing political deadlock, and deepening curbs on civic space.
Volker Türk, UN Human Rights Commissioner, gave the assurance as the FFM, established by the Human Rights Council in June 2020, wound up its operations, handing over its archives and the evidence it has collected to the UN Human Rights Office.
“Libyan authorities, armed groups, smugglers and human traffickers should not assume that the eyes of the international community have now left Libya,” he said.
“It is crucial that we redouble efforts to secure accountability for past violations and continue to monitor the reality on the ground to prevent future violations,” the envoy added.
In its final report, the fact-finding mission recommended that the UN Human Rights Office should establish a distinct and autonomous mechanism with an ongoing mandate to monitor and report on gross human rights violations in Libya.
This with a view to supporting Libyan reconciliation efforts and assisting Libyan authorities in achieving transitional justice and accountability.
Türk highlighted the importance of holding national elections and working towards sustainable peace in Libya.
He voiced concern at the intensifying crackdown on civil society, most recently through a Government decree declaring all national and international civil society organisations registered after 2011 illegal.
Libya spilled into conflict that year when Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown.
“Regulations concerning civil society should respect the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and association, not suffocate and criminalise the work of those working for a rights-based future for Libya,” Turk said.
Elections were initially scheduled for 2018, then 2021, but failed to materialise because of conflict and incapacity by the electoral commission.
– CAJ News