This page summarizes cases raised with Libya by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2017 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Libya.
Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared.
Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) – the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available).
Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Libya, English).
The Special Rapporteur would like to thank the Government of Libya for its response to his communication dated 5 September 2012, but he regrets no response was received to the other communication he sent on 9 January 2013. He considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate, and urges the authorities to provide as soon as possible detailed responses to all the concerns raised in his communication.
The Special Rapporteur commands the efforts of the Government for reforming a very strict legal framework governing freedom of association and of peaceful assembly, but he is very concerned about several provisions of a new law on peaceful assembly which do not adequately meet with international norms and standards related to freedom of peaceful assembly. In particular, he would like to highlight that any restrictions to freedom of peaceful assembly must be facilitated within “sight and sound” of its object and target audience. He further calls upon the authorities to ensure that no assembly organizer is held responsible and liable for the unlawful behaviour of others. He urges the authorities to ensure its legislation and its implementation pertaining to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association comply with the best practices detailed in his reports (see notably A/HRC/20/27). He stands ready to provide any technical assistance the Government of Libya may require.
The Special Rapporteur is also concerned about reported obstructions faced by peaceful protestors who called for the protection of cultural and religious sites in Libya. He urges the authorities to take positive measures to ensure individuals can freely exercise their right to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly and are not subject to, or threaten to be subject to, discrimination, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals.
The Special Rapporteur refers to Human Rights Council resolution 21/16, and in particular operative paragraph 1 which “reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline, including in the context of elections, and including persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others, including migrants, seeking to exercise or to promote these rights”.
The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Libya has not responded to his communications. As stated in his previous report on 30 May 2013, he reiterates that he considers the responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate and urges the authorities to provide detailed responses to all the concerns raised in his communications.
The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities of Libya to conduct prompt and thorough investigations into the killing of Mr. Abdulsalam Elmessmary, prominent political activist and founder of the 17 February Coalition, prosecute perpetrators, and provide adequate reparation to victims. He expresses serious concern about the security and the physical and psychological integrity of members of associations expressing dissenting views in the country.
The Special Rapporteur reminds the Government that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights acceded by Libya on 15 May 1970, guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. He further calls upon the authorities to put in place an enabling and safe environment allowing individuals to exercise their legitimate freedoms of peaceful assembly and association without undue hindrances. He reiterates the content of the operative paragraph 2 of the Human Rights Council Resolution 24/5 that “[r]eminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline, including in the context of elections, and including persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others, including migrants, seeking to exercise or to promote these rights, and to take all necessary measures to ensure that any restrictions on the free exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law.”
Responses to communications
The Special Rapporteur regrets that he has not received a response to his communication and reminds the Government of Libya that he considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate. He calls upon States to cooperate fully with and assist him in the performance of his mandate, in compliance with Human Rights Council resolutions 24/5 (2013), 21/16 (2012) and 15/21 (2010). In the absence of information to the contrary, the Special Rapporteur concludes that there is substance in the allegations presented in his communications.
Environment in which these rights are exercised
The Special Rapporteur reiterates his grave concerns based on information suggesting that a woman human rights defender and co-founder of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, Ms. Salwa Bugaighis, was killed by unknown assailants and that her husband, member of the Benghazi municipal council, may have been abducted in the context of parliamentary elections. While he notes that Benghazi has been the scene of increasing attacks targeting political figures, in particular, he reminds the State that the right to associate freely is an essential component to democracy, in particular during election periods and between elections (A/68/299, paragraph 5). He expresses similar concern at the chilling effect that the killing of a human rights defender and reported disappearance of a political figure may have on others who wish to exercise their right to associate freely.. The Special Rapporteur calls on the authorities to put in place a safe and enabling environment that is conducive to the free expression of civil society and the exercise of the right to freedom of association without undue hindrance.
He urges the authorities to inform him of the results of the investigations of the circumstances leading to Ms. Bugaighis’ death, as well as of the whereabouts of her husband as soon as possible. He emphasizes that the right to life should be guaranteed by States to all individuals under all circumstances and at all times, including in the context of the exercise of the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly, as prescribed by article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights acceded by Libya on 15 May 1970. In addition, he refers to the General Comment No. 31 of the Human Rights Committee that recalls the responsibility of State parties to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate and bring perpetrators to justice or redress the harm caused by non-state actors (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, paragraphs 8 and 18). Moreover, he calls upon the Government of Libya to respect its obligation to conduct thorough, prompt and impartial investigations of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, in accordance with the principle 9 of the Principles on Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
For the full reports, containing communications, replies and observations for all countries, see the following links: