In total around 65,000 people are internally displaced across Libya, not just Tawarghas but members of the Mashashya tribe from the Nafusa Mountains, residents of Sirte and Bani Walid, and Tuaregs from Ghadames too. The Tawarghas, ethnic black Libyans, are among those who have suffered the most.
More than 1,300 Tawarghas are estimated to be missing, detained or were subjected to enforced disappearances, mainly in Misratah. Most were seized by militias and subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, such as electric shocks, whipping and beatings with metal bars or water pipes in detention.
Amnesty International urges the Libyan authorities to investigate all cases of enforced disappearance and torture without discrimination, including of victims perceived as pro-al Gaddafi.
Hundreds of Tawargha detainees, including children, have also been held in state prisons for more than two years, without charge or trial, in poor detention conditions, without adequate medical care or regular family visits. Family members of detained Tawarghas fear reprisal attacks each time they go to Misratah. In al Wahda prison in Misratah, Amnesty International met nine minors who were held without charge since they were apprehended in 2011.
“All those being held without charge must be released or charged with a recognizable criminal offence. The detention of children should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.
Libya is currently facing the worst political and security crisis since the 2011 conflict. The rule of law has been undermined amid widespread lawlessness, arbitrary detentions, abductions and attacks on government institutions by state-affiliated militias. Despite these challenges, the Libyan authorities have a responsibility to ensure the protection of internally displaced communities who are among those most at risk.