Press Release: The Election of Libya to the UN Human Rights Council

Press Release: The Election of Libya to the UN Human Rights Council

The election of Libya and countries with likewise notorious record of human rights violations, to the UN Human Rights Council is a clear manifestation of the faults in the system, and at the same time stresses the need to reform the process of electing the Council and its make-up.

The record of human rights violations of the Libyan regime is regrettably very grave and can not be disputed. It is imperative for the Libyan government to address its own human rights abuses before it sends its representatives to the council to judge the human rights practices of other countries.

It has to address the over 1200 cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances; majority of them are feared to be victims of extrajudicial executions. Many of these cases are over 20 years of disappearances and some are even longer. It has to explain the circumstances of each single case: the causes of these disappearances, the fate of the victims and the responsible persons.

It has to address the mass killings of hundreds of political detainees which took place on 29th June 1996 at Abu Saleem prison complex located inside the compound of the headquarters of the military police. It has to setup an independent commission to investigate the incident, which should conduct its investigations in utmost possible transparency and publish its findings. It is required to provide information on the circumstances leading up to the incident, the names of the victims and the fate of their remains, and indictments of those found responsible of wrong doing.

It has to end the four decades of lack of legitimate constitution in Libya, by drafting a constitution which must be adopted by the Libyan people in a secret voting referendum. The constitution must guarantee the basic rights of the Libyan people and be in conformity with the International treaties and conventions which Libya acceded to.

It has to revise its laws, the penal and procedures codes, and abolish or all articles which deprive or restrict or limit its citizenry of their basic rights of freedom of expression, legitimate participation in the national interest, of freedom of association and above all their right to dignity. 

It has to end the discrimination against women, by granting them equal citizenship rights to that of Libyan men. It has also to address the unjustifiable indefinite detention of women, victims of social problems, in the so called rehabilitation centers for women. The Libyan government has to come up with solutions to this social problem. It is required to launch educational programs to educate the public and reform social attitudes. The current situation is an indefinite detention in de facto prisons; it constitutes grievous abuses of rights of women, many of whom are victims of misfortunate social circumstances. That can not be justified and an end to it is overdue.

The above represents some of the issues that the Libyan government needs to address if it wants to be perceived as a credible participant in the Council. Other than that, it will only confirm its image of an unrepentant human rights abuser of the citizens of Libya.