Libya: Bolster Security at Tawergha Camps
Human Rights Watch
5 March 2012
The Libyan government should urgently increase security for the roughly 12,000 displaced people from Tawergha in western Libya, Human Rights Watch said today. (…)
(…) In Tripoli and other western areas, Tawerghans have been subjected to attacks, arrests and harassment since August 2011, mostly by militias from Misrata, Human Rights Watch said. (…)
(…) According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 35,000 people from Tawergha are displaced around Libya. Tawergha leaders say 16,000 of their people are in eastern Libya and 12,000 are in the west, mostly in Tripoli. Tawerghans in eastern Libya, further from Misrata, appear less vulnerable to attack.
The town of Tawergha near Misrata has been abandoned since mid-August 2011. Militias from Misrata are blocking residents from returning because they accuse Tawerghans of rape and other atrocities in Misrata during the war, together with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
A Commission of Inquiry on Libya appointed by the UN Human Rights Council recently concluded that Misrata militias had committed crimes against humanity of torture and killings of Tawerghans. “The Misrata thuwar [anti-Gaddafi forces] have killed, arbitrarily arrested and tortured Tawerghans across Libya,” said the report, issued on March 2, 2012. “The destruction of Tawergha has been done to render it uninhabitable.”
The Libyan government and international actors who support it should ensure that sufficient security forces protect the Tawergha camps and that legal authorities promptly investigate crimes against displaced persons, Human Rights Watch said. (…)
(…) Security at Tawergha camps in western Libya should come from the central government, such as the national army, which has lawful authority to carry out security measures, rather than quasi-official local military councils, frequently consisting of unaccountable militias, Human Rights Watch said. (…)
(…) Human Rights Watch urged the government to ensure that its formal criminal justice authorities conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the killings in and around the camp, leading to the prosecution of those responsible. (…)
To read the full report, see here.