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Libya

    October 21, 2019
    33 strikes examined in first detailed investigation on both sides of the frontline More than 100 civilians killed and injured; 100,000 displaced UN arms embargo violations by UAE, Turkey and others fuel potential war crimes

    Warring parties in the ongoing battle for Tripoli have killed and maimed scores of civilians by launching indiscriminate attacks and using a range of inaccurate explosive weapons in populated urban areas, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    In the first in-depth field investigation across the frontline since fighting broke out on 4 April, the organization visited 33 air and ground strike sites in Tripoli and surrounding areas. It unearthed evidence of potential war crimes by both the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), who have been fighting in and around the city.

    August 16, 2019

    Fears are mounting for the safety of Siham Sergiwa, a Libyan member of parliament, vocal in criticising the current offensive on Tripoli, who was abducted by armed gunmen in a night-time raid on her home in Benghazi one month ago, said Amnesty International.

    Dozens of masked gunmen wearing army attire stormed Siham Sergiwa’s home and seized her in the early hours of 17 July. Her husband, Ali, was shot in the leg and her 16-year-old son, Fadi, was badly beaten during the raid.

    “The horrific abduction of Siham Sergiwa illustrates the acute dangers facing publicly active women in Libya who dare to express criticism of militias. Siham Sergiwa appears to have come under attack as punishment for peacefully expressing her opinions and criticising the Libyan National Army’s offensive on Tripoli. One month since her abduction, the fears for her safety are growing by the day,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    July 12, 2019

    Release, Evacuate Detained Refugees and Migrants

    European Union foreign ministers gathering in Brussels on 15 July 2019, should issue a clear call to Libyan authorities to close their migrant detention centres, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said today. The EU ministers should make a commitment on behalf of EU states to facilitate the evacuation of detainees to safe places, including outside of Libya and to EU member states.

    “Expressions of outrage over dire conditions and dangers to detainees amid fighting in Tripoli ring hollow without urgent life-saving measures to get people out of harm’s way,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “EU governments should offer concrete support to Libyan authorities to close all migrant detention centres and take immediate action to help evacuate those most vulnerable and at risk.”

    July 03, 2019

    The International Criminal Court must order an urgent investigation into an abhorrent attack on the Tajoura immigration detention centre in eastern Tripoli, Libya, in which at least 40 refugees and migrants were killed and more than 80 injured, said Amnesty International.

    “This deadly attack which struck a detention centre where at least 600 refugees and migrants were trapped in detention with no means of escape, and whose location was known to all warring parties, must be independently investigated as a war crime. The International Criminal Court should immediately investigate the possibility that this was a direct attack on civilians,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    April 24, 2019

    A violent attack by fighters who opened fire on refugees and migrants at a detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli highlights the urgent need to ensure civilians are protected and perpetrators are held to account, said Amnesty International after speaking to eye witnesses.

    Armed men raided the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention centre, south of Tripoli on 23 April and shot a number of the people being held there. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at least 12 people were hospitalized as a result of their injuries.

    Video footage reviewed by Amnesty International shows distressed refugees and migrants in the aftermath of the shooting, some of them screaming. In one of the videos, three people are shown with apparent gunshot wounds. Another video shows several injured people lying on the floor, their bandages soaked with blood.

    April 15, 2019

    Responding to a news report that more than 700 refugees and migrants in Libya were trapped in a detention centre in Qasr bin Ghasher in close proximity to intense armed clashes in Tripoli, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

    “The Libyan government must immediately release all migrants and refugees from these horrific detention centres where they are held illegally and face appalling abuse and torture. The authorities must do everything to ensure the safety of these men, women and children, left without access to food, water and other essentials amid the escalating violence in and around Tripoli.

    April 08, 2019

    Fears of further civilian bloodshed are growing as clashes on the outskirts of Tripoli, between forces from the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, under General Khalifa Haftar’s command, and militias aligned with Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord escalate, said Amnesty International today.

    According to the Tripoli-based Health Ministry, at least 25 people have been killed and 80 injured since the offensive by General Haftar to take over the capital, Tripoli, was launched on 4 April. At least four of those killed were civilians, including two medical workers, according to the UN.

    “The escalation of violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is deeply alarming – there are fears that the civilian death toll will rise rapidly as the fighting intensifies and spreads into more densely populated parts of the city,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    December 07, 2018

    Responding to news from MSF and SOS Mediterranée that the Aquarius search and rescue vessel has been forced to end operations, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today, we received some very sad news. Médecins Sans Frontières and its partner SOS Méditerranée have been forced to terminate operations by the search and rescue ship, Aquarius.

    “Over the last two years the Aquarius and her crew have rescued nearly 30,000 people in the Mediterranean. Yet, more than 2,100 people have drowned this year. The vast majority were fleeing violence, torture and arbitrary detention in Libya.

    “During this time, not only have European governments failed to provide search and rescue capacity, they have instead supported the Libyan coastguard to return people to Libya, and actively obstructed life-saving activities like Aquarius was carrying out.

    “In doing this, European leaders have shown where their true priorities lie: the closure of the central Mediterranean route for refugees and migrants, even at the cost of a soaring death toll at sea.

    November 16, 2018

    Libyan, European and Panamanian authorities must ensure that at least 79 refugees and migrants who are on board a merchant vessel at the port of Misratah are not forced to disembark to be taken to a Libyan detention centre where they could face torture and other abuse, said Amnesty International today.

    The refugees and migrants, including a number of children, were found as they attempted to reach Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. Amnesty International understands that Italian and Maltese maritime authorities were involved in the operation, carried out by the merchant ship Nivin. Flying a Panamanian flag, the Nivin picked the group up in the central Mediterranean on 8 November and returned them to Libya, in what appears to be a clear breach of international law, given that Libya cannot be considered a safe place to disembark.

    June 25, 2018

    The Libyan authorities must do more to protect women human rights defenders in the country and investigate the repeated violent attacks against them, Amnesty International said today, four years after the killing of renowned Libyan human rights lawyer and activist Salwa Bugaighis.

    Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead in her home in the eastern city of Benghazi on 25 June 2014 - her assassination triggering a downward spiral in  security for women human rights defenders that has persisted ever since.

    “Salwa Bugaighis’ assassination was a negative turning point for women in Libya who had actively sought to participate in public and political life following the 2011 uprising,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “The general security situation for Libyans deteriorated after 2014 but women were particularly hard-hit. The lack of accountability for the assassination exposed a climate of impunity for violence against women who speak out, causing some women to retreat from Libyan civil society and forcing others to flee the country.”

    June 11, 2018

    Amid reports of an escalating humanitarian crisis in the besieged Libyan city of Derna, Amnesty International is calling on the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, and all parties involved in the fighting to urgently open humanitarian corridors to give impartial assistance and save the lives of civilians still trapped in the city as the army advances.

    Derna residents are bracing themselves for a bloody street battle as the LNA advances its control over the city. Residents say they fear trying to flee from the city because the LNA is known to profile, arbitrarily detain and disappear people they perceive as opponents, especially young men.

    “We are receiving horrifying reports from Derna, where a prolonged siege and heavy fighting have left the city on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.  Blockade tactics are being used to cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary men, women and children, who are now surrounded, with dwindling food, water and medical supplies, and no way out of this desperate situation,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    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.  

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