Human Rights: UN Fact-Finding Mission on Libya concludes first visit to Libya

Geneva, August 27, 2021.- The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya concluded on Thursday 26 August a 4-day visit to Tripoli during which they had high-level talks with Libyan governmental and judicial authorities regarding the situation of human rights in Libya. They also provided the Libyan authorities with an update about their work ahead of the submission of a report to the UN Human Rights Council in October 2021.

The Fact-Finding Mission was established by the Human Rights Council in June 2020 with a mandate to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed in Libya since 2016. The Members of the Fact-Finding Mission are Mohamed Aujjar, Chair, alongside Chaloka Beyani and Tracy Robinson. Due to the liquidity crisis related to the United Nations regular budget, the Secretariat supporting the work of the Mission only became fully operational in June 2021.

While in Tripoli, the Fact-Finding Mission met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice, as well as with the Minister of State for Displaced Persons’ Affairs and Human Rights. They also had meetings with the Director-General of Defence, the Military Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Department for Combating Illegal Immigration (DCIM). The Fact-Finding Mission also met with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya and other UN entities. Their visit followed an investigative mission conducted earlier in July 2021.

“The main goal of our visit was to strengthen our cooperation with the Libyan authorities in the fulfilment of our mandate”, said Mohamed Aujjar. “The Human Rights Council urged the Libyan authorities to extend full cooperation to the Fact-Finding Mission and we are pleased that the Libyan authorities showed commitment to continue to cooperate with the Mission and assist our work.”

Despite the challenges it has faced, including the limited time at its disposal and the travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fact-Finding Mission has been able to gather a significant amount of information. “We are in a position to reach a number of important findings, which we will present to the Human Rights Council in October. However, a full determination of the violations and abuses committed in Libya since 2016 requires significantly more time”, said Tracy Robinson. “We hope that the Human Rights Council will consider renewing our mandate and we welcome the support of the Libyan authorities in this regard”, added Chaloka Beyani.

“Nevertheless, many witnesses have declined to engage with the Fact-Finding Mission on account of fears for their safety. We called on the Libyan authorities to ensure that any individual is free, and feels free, to approach the Mission”, said Aujaar.

The visit of the Fact-Finding Mission coincided with the recent installation of the Government of National Unity, which has opened a phase of national dialogue. ”Accountability for past and ongoing human rights violations, and addressing prevailing impunity, must be part of the process of achieving peace and stability”, the Members of the Fact-Finding Mission concluded.

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