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Libya

    May 15, 2018

    A surge in migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by the Libyan authorities has seen at least 2,600 people transferred, in the past two months alone, to squalid detention centres where they face torture and extortion, Amnesty International said today.

    The global human rights organisation accuses European governments of complicity in these abuses by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and sending people back to detention centres in Libya.

    “The EU is turning a blind eye to the suffering caused by its callous immigration policies that outsource border control to Libya,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “When European leaders spare no effort to ensure the Libyan Coast Guard intercepts as many people as possible, they are sending those migrants and refugees straight back to Libya’s detention centres which are notorious for abuse and torture. No one should be sending anyone back to Libya.”

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 25, 2018

    Responding to reports that yesterday Mahmoud al-Werfalli, former Field Commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the Libyan National Army (LNA) and a war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), extrajudicially executed 10 people in Benghazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Heba Morayef, said:

    “The video currently circulating on social media appears to be a demonstration of the horrifying consequences of the rampant impunity that exists in Libya. As long as indicted war crimes suspects feel they can carry on committing grave violations without facing justice, the prospects for establishing rule of law in Libya will remain grim.”

    “The onus is now on the General Commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan authorities to ensure that Mahmoud al-Werfalli is handed to the ICC, making it clear that those who commit war crimes and other serious violations will be brought to justice.”

    Background

    December 13, 2017

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Last month CNN news footage caught on film what authorities in Libya and in Europe do not want you to see: migrants being bought and sold.

    A damning new Amnesty International report released this week paints a shocking picture of how this terrible degradation of human life has come to happen. “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion” documents the systematic human rights abuse of 20,000 refugees and migrants from all over Africa and elsewhere, who are being held in detention Libya.

    Tortured. Deprived of food. Raped. Drowned at sea. Bought and sold.  

    December 12, 2017

    European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya, said Amnesty International in a report published today, in the wake of global outrage over the sale of migrants in Libya.

    ‘Libya’s dark web of collusion’ details how European governments are actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan Coast Guard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean.

    “Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libya are at the mercy of Libyan authorities, militias, armed groups and smugglers often working seamlessly together for financial gain. Tens of thousands are kept indefinitely in overcrowded detention centres where they are subjected to systematic abuse,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    August 22, 2017

    Six years since the Tawargha people were displaced from their hometown by Misratah militia forces in August 2011, the community of about 40,000 are still unable to return safely to their homes, Amnesty International said today.

    Two months ago, in June 2017, a political agreement was signed paving the way for their return. However, the terms of the deal not been implemented and some of those who have attempted to make the journey home since have faced threats and intimidation. The agreement also fails to ensure access to justice and reparations for the horrendous abuses Tawarghas have endured in recent years.

    “The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity,” said Heba Morayef.

    “Without clear political will to enforce the agreement to ensure the Tawargha’s safe return home, the public commitments made in June will be little more than an empty gesture.”

    August 16, 2017
      Responding to news that the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant today for the arrest of Mahmoud el-Wefelli, who is accused of war crimes for actions committed while he was Field Commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the Libyan National Army (LNA), Amnesty International’s North Africa Research Director Heba Morayef said:   “Today’s decision by the ICC is a significant step towards ending the rampant impunity for war crimes in Libya. Mahmoud al-Werfelli led an army unit that is accused of atrocities, including the extrajudicial executions of unarmed and defenseless captives.   “The Libyan authorities must urgently comply with this arrest warrant and hand Mahmoud al-Werfelli over to the ICC to face his accusers in a fair trial. This warrant sends a clear message that those who commit or order horrendous crimes are not above the law and will not go unpunished.  
    July 27, 2017

    Photo Credit: Amnesty International

     

    University professor Dr Salem Mohamed Beitelmal was released on 6 June. He had been abducted by local militias on the outskirts of Tripoli since 20 April. He has now returned home and joined his family.

    May 08, 2017

    The continuing rise in abductions at the hands of militias highlights how the absence of the rule of law in Libya is fuelling chaos and lawlessness and leaving civilians in the country living in fear, said Amnesty International today. Kidnappings of civilians by militias, often for ransom, have risen sharply since 2014, particularly in the west of the country, where hundreds have gone missing and abductions have become a feature of daily life.

    Among the latest victims to go missing is Tripoli University professor Dr. Salem Mohamed Beitelmal, who was abducted over two weeks ago not far from his home in the area of Siyyad on the outskirts of Tripoli. His whereabouts remain unknown and his family have had no contact with him since his abduction.

    February 02, 2017

    Closing the EU’s southern sea borders would put thousands of refugees and migrants setting sail from Libya at risk of detention and appalling human rights abuses, Amnesty International warned as European leaders meet in Malta tomorrow to secure an EU-Libya migration plan.  The plan was first proposed late last month by the European Commission to ‘manage migration’ on the Central Mediterranean route.

    The EU naval operations Sophia and Triton would in practice delegate search and rescue of refugees and migrants by sharing information about the location of the migrant and refugee boats to the Libyan Coast Guard, facilitating their interception and return to Libya.

    September 30, 2016

    Fears are growing for hundreds of civilians who are trapped in a Benghazi neighbourhood which faces intensified fighting after several months under military blockade, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization has gathered testimony from some of the 130 Libyan families and hundreds of foreign nationals who have been trapped for months in the residential district of Ganfouda, in south-west Benghazi. All entry roads are blocked by the fighting or Libyan National Army forces, and food, water and electricity supplies have been cut off.

    “Time is running out for civilians in Ganfouda, who are being left to die trapped by the fighting. While bombs and shells continue to rain down on them, civilians are struggling to survive on rotten food and dirty water. And the sick and wounded must make due with dwindling supplies of expired medicines,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    July 21, 2016

    Airstrikes by the Libyan National Army are endangering the lives of scores of detainees who are being held captive in Benghazi, said Amnesty International.

    The organization raised the alarm as new video evidence emerged showing three men who were among an estimated 130 people abducted by the armed group Ansar al-Sharia from a military prison in Benghazi in October 2014. In the video, the first time they’ve been seen since they went missing, the men call for an end to the airstrikes which they say have injured several people and are putting lives at risk.

    “Scores of people who were abducted and are being held captive in Benghazi are trapped under fire with no way out. Carrying out airstrikes in a manner that ignores their presence violates international humanitarian law. Those carrying out attacks must take all feasible precautions to avoid or at least minimise harm to people who are not directly participating in the fighting,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. 

    June 30, 2016

    Horrifying accounts of sexual violence, killings, torture and religious persecution collected by Amnesty International reveal the shocking range of abuses along the smuggling routes to and through Libya. The organization spoke to at least 90 refugees and migrants at reception centres in Puglia and Sicily, who had made the journey across the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy in the past few months, and who were abused by people smugglers, traffickers, organized criminal gangs and armed groups.

    “From being abducted, incarcerated underground for months and sexually abused by members of armed groups, to being beaten, exploited or shot at by people smugglers, traffickers or criminal gangs - refugees and migrants have described in harrowing detail the horrors they were forced to endure in Libya,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Their experiences paint a terrifying picture of the conditions many of those who come to Europe are so desperate to escape.”

    June 14, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT Tuesday 14 June 2016

    The EU’s plans to cooperate more closely with Libya on migration risk fuelling the rampant ill-treatment and indefinite detention in horrifying conditions of thousands of refugees and migrants, said Amnesty International.

    Last month the EU announced plans to extend its anti-smuggling naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, for another year and to train, build up the capacity of and share information with the Libyan coastguard following a request by the new Libyan government. However, testimonies gathered during visits to Sicily and Puglia in May 2016 reveal shocking abuses by the Libyan coastguard and at immigration detention centres in Libya.

    Amnesty International spoke to 90 people who survived the treacherous sea crossing from Libya to Italy, including at least 20 refugees and migrants who described shootings and beatings while being picked up by the coastguard or harrowing torture and other ill-treatment at detention centres. In one case, the Libyan coastguard abandoned a boat leaving some 120 people on board instead of rescuing them.

    February 16, 2016

    Urgent and sustained international support is needed to help end the cycle of chaos and rampant abuse gripping Libya, said Amnesty International on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that brought an end to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s brutal authoritarian rule.

    The international community has been actively engaged in a peace process aimed at ending the fighting and forming a unity government. However, accountability for countless war crimes and other serious human rights abuses during spiralling violence is still elusive. Urgent International funding to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the country is also desperately needed.

    “World leaders, particularly those who took part in the NATO intervention that helped to overthrow Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011 have a duty to ensure that those responsible for the horrors that have unfolded in Libya in its wake are held to account,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

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