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Libya: Human Rights Council Monitoring Needed
Human Rights Watch 
16 March 2012
The UN Human Rights Council should condemn serious, ongoing human rights violations by militias in Libya, Human Rights Watch said today. The council should appoint an independent expert to document the abuses and monitor the government’s response.

The Human Rights Council is discussing Libya during its current session, with a resolution expected the week of March 18, 2012.

Despite commitments by Libya’s transitional government to stem abuses, Human Rights Watch has documented ongoing killings, torture, and forced displacement by militias. (…) The government has proven incapable of reining in these militias or holding to account those responsible for abuses. (…)

(…) A draft Human Rights Council resolution proposed by the transitional Libyan government is woefully weak, Human Rights Watch said. It only “takes note” of the Commission of Inquiry report and “encourages” the government to investigate human rights violations. Negotiations on the draft will continue until the voting, on March 22 or 23.

The resolution should include the appointment of an independent expert to monitor human rights violations and report back to the Council, Human Rights Watch said. At minimum, the Council should mandate the high commissioner for human rights to report on the human rights situation in the country publicly and regularly, Human Rights Watch said.

Libya’s friends, especially those that supported the NATO intervention there, should approach Libya at the highest levels of government and insist on continued monitoring and involvement by the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. (…)

(…) The Human Rights Council established the Commission of Inquiry in February 2011, with a mandate to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya and to make recommendations. Libya’s membership at the council was suspended in March 2011, because of serious abuses by the Gaddafi government. Libya rejoined the council in November.

The Commission of Inquiry’s March 2 report, its second, found that Gaddafi forces had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also found that anti-Gaddafi forces had “committed serious violations, including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law, the latter continuing at the time of the present report.” (…) The difference between past and present abuses, the report said, is that “those responsible for abuses now are not part of a system of brutality sanctioned by the central government.”

The UN report highlighted the plight of the people from Tawergha, perceived as Gaddafi supporters, who have been killed, arbitrarily arrested and tortured by anti-Gaddafi fighters from Misrata. The widespread and systematic nature of these abuses indicates that crimes against humanity have been committed, the report said.

The report called on the Human Rights Council to “establish a mechanism to ensure the implementation of the recommendations in [the] report.” (…)  
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