Today at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya will discuss its last report on the dire human rights situation in Libya and uncovered evidence of ongoing human rights violations fueled by the misappropriation of public funds.
GENEVA, 3 April 2023 – Justice Rapid Response (JRR) congratulates the Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya for its last report, containing crucial information linked to international crimes and human rights violations it gathered during its mandate. Of specific note are the findings on the misappropriation of E.U. public funds in the context of the interception and the arbitrary detention of migrants.
JRR has been a trusted supporter of the work of the FFM on Libya, including by providing a financial investigations and gender specialist to help shed light on the misappropriation of public funds by active militia and other State-affiliated groups to commit human rights violations rather than humanely tackling the issue of irregular migration in the country.
“Supported by the financial expertise JRR provided, the FFM was able to gather compelling evidence suggesting that the Libyan security apparatus has been incentivized to maintain migrants under captivity and use detention as a tool of oppression because of the illicit financial gains it could secure,” declared Samuel Emonet, Executive Director of JRR, in the margins of the Human Rights Council’s 52nd session.
The FFM describes in its report the phenomenon of the consolidation of power and wealth of the Libyan security apparatus, thanks to the revenues it earned from the widescale exploitation of vulnerable migrants both inside and outside of detention centers. The FFM uncovered evidence demonstrating that human rights violations such as trafficking, enslavement, forced labor, imprisonment, extortion and the smuggling of migrants have been institutionalized, to the financial benefit of high-ranking Libyan officials as well as militia groups and State .
“The mandate of the FFM on Libya was uncommonly given an expiration date at the 50th HRC session for a final non-extendable period of nine months, to present its concluding recommendations in March 2023. JRR will continue to support other justice efforts in Libya,” added Emonet.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Children’s Rights
JRR further welcomes the FFM’s close attention it paid to sexual and gender-based violations (SGBV) as well as to violations affecting children throughout its mandate. JRR also supported the FFM through gender and child rights experts in partnership with UN Women.
In its last report, the FFM has concluded that there is strong evidence that sexual slavery was committed against migrants, constituting a crime against humanity – a finding that was previously unreported by the Mission and now uncovered.
The FFM further substantiated its prior finding that crimes against humanity have occurred in detention facilities across the country. A proof of the systematic rape of women by guards are the testimonies from migrants who furthermore reported seeing women giving birth in detention without professional medical support.
SGBV was also evidenced by the case of two young Libyan men perceived to be gay, who were severely tortured and subjected to insults on their sexual orientation. One of them was kept in detention and raped by guards before managing to flee Libya. JRR expert was instrumental in ensuring that SGBV violations were reported.
“Documenting gendered violations in general and violations against homosexuals is a guarantee and a proof to all survivors of violence, torture and enforced disappearance that perpetrators will be held accountable. In light of the last report issued by the FFM, we, human rights defenders for LGBTQI community, we see an acknowledgment of the shocking violations against homosexuals in Libya and we hope that the FFM continues its work until all recommendations are implemented,” said a journalist and LGBTQI+ activist in the context of the release of the last report of the FFM on Libya.
As per child rights, the FFM adopted a child rights lens to investigate violations affecting children, thanks to the support of a JRR expert. This is reflected by the incorporation of a dedicated section focusing on the recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict, notably children from minority groups in Libya lacking citizenship or of undetermined legal status.
The strategic inclusion of child rights expertise throughout the mandate of the FFM ensured enhanced visibility of child rights. This was highlighted by the FFM last report’s recommendation to further investigating violations committed against children and their rights.