Libya risks repeating the very violations that led to the “17 February revolution” unless the winners of elections scheduled for this week make the establishment of the rule of law and respect for human rights their top priority, says Amnesty International.
Nearly a year after Tripoli fell to the revolutionary fighters, ongoing violations – including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture including to death, impunity for unlawful killings and forcible displacement – are casting a shadow over the country’s first national elections since the fall of al-Gaddafi’s regime.
During a visit to Libya in May and June, Amnesty International found that hundreds of armed militias continue to act above the law, many refusing to disarm or join the national army or police force. The Ministry of Interior told the organization that it has been able to dismantle four militias in Tripoli, a tiny proportion of the total number.
“It is deeply depressing that after so many months, the authorities have failed so comprehensively to break the stranglehold of the militias on Libyan security, with dramatic consequences for the people that bear the brunt of their actions,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
“Calls for an end to repression and injustice were what led to the ‘17 February revolution’ in the first place. Without immediate action to stop abuses and lawlessness, there is a very real danger Libya could end up reproducing and entrenching the same patterns of violations we have seen over the past four decades”.