By Lawyers for Justice in Libya. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.
Constitutional Drafting Assembly to vote on dangerous constitutional draft without public consultation
Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) is concerned by Libya’s consolidated constitutional draft (the April 2017 Draft), which restricts human rights including freedom of expression and assembly, and does not guarantee equality due to contradictory provisions.
As as result, the April 2017 draft in its current form risks entrenching discrimination towards whole sections of the population residing in Libya. LFJL urges the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) to amend the April 2017 Draft and work together to ensure that the future constitution provides robust human rights protections for all Libya’s people.
The CDA must also set out the next steps in the constitution building process, and hold meaningful public consultations with all stakeholders before finalising its work.
Libya’s constitution building process stalled in April 2016, when divisions and boycotts amongst the CDA’s membership prevented the body from approving a previous draft for consideration by national referendum. The CDA subsequently formed a sub-committee, which included members who had been boycotting the process, to debate controversial issues and to seek to establish consensus. Their efforts resulted in the April 2017 Draft, which will be considered by the CDA during a plenary meeting and vote on 7 May 2017.
LFJL, however, is concerned that the April 2017 Draft fails to provide sufficient guarantees to ensure the protection of human rights in Libya in many aspects and may weaken existing rights commitments. This in turn may entrench unequal treatment and the substandard protections for human rights for generations to come.
LFJL is particularly concerned by the expansive limitations to fundamental freedoms, such as the right to assembly, which are open to abuse. Article 44 guarantees the right to ‘meet, assemble and demonstrate peacefully’, but is limited by the broad permission for the state to use force ‘when necessary’. International law is clear that assemblies may only be restricted, and force used, in very narrow circumstances such as when a protest is violent or unlawful, which article 44 does not make clear.