This regulation exceeds the Commission’s mandate, namely to introduce measures that encourage civil society organisations to work in compliance with existing laws. In the absence of such relevant laws, the regulation’s measures amount to an attempt to restrict the activities of civil society organisations unlawfully and are in violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly guaranteed by Libya’s Interim Constitutional Declaration and the country’s international human rights obligations. Despite their unlawful nature, there is a real danger that local authorities will seek inappropriately to implement the regulation.
“Independent civil society organisations in Libya are under repeated attack by individuals and institutions seeking to gain influence and power. The current trend indicates that civil society organisations in Libya are facing the greatest threat to their continued existence since the 2011 uprising,” remarked Thomas Ebbs, LFJL’s Acting Director.
He added, “This is a serious concern as, in the absence of state institutions, civil society groups have played an increasingly important role in providing basic services and support for those residing in Libya. It is vital that efforts are made, both by national and international agencies, to support this remaining bastion of the revolution rather than to restrict its activities or encourage its destruction.”
LFJL hopes that, as an enduring accomplishment of the 17 February Revolution, independent civil society organisations are able to remain a guiding force throughout the difficult transitional period. Groups, including LFJL, must be able to continue to support the Libyan people and assist the rebuilding of the Libyan state based on human rights, the rule of law and democracy if the 17 February is to be a day celebrated in the future. LFJL calls on all actors engaged in Libya to increase their efforts to support the existence of civil society organisations and to encourage such groups to play a greater role during this difficult transitional period.
(Source: Lawyers for Justice in Libya)