Despite the great hopes following the 2011 revolution, the human rights situation in Libya continues to be marked by widespread abuses and violations perpetrated by all sides to the conflict with complete impunity.
Thousands of people are held arbitrarily in detention centres across the country, some since the 2011 armed conflict, many subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Armed groups unlawfully kill and hold hostage civilians and combatants. Civilian men, women and children are killed and injured every week by the indiscriminate use of weapons. And yet, these aspects of the human rights situation in Libya rarely find themselves in the headlines.
Internally displaced people and civil society representatives painted a stark picture of the grave abuses carried out by armed groups and the impunity that they currently enjoy. The actions of armed groups hinder meaningful progress towards stability, development and peace in the country.
In many of my conversations, including with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Interior I raised the dire situation in detention centres across the country. I was pleased to see their commitment to work with the United Nations and others towards the full implementation of international standards, such as the Mandela Rules. I directly raised with officials the need to make rapid progress in screening the files of pre-trial detainees to ensure that either trials proceed or the detainees are released.
I also raised the need for accountability within the penitentiary system and called for human rights monitors to be given unfettered access to places where suspects and convicted prisoners are held.
Individual centres, such as the Mitigia detention centre, are of particular concern given the horrific reports emerging from them. The situation there needs to be addressed urgently, as do other facilities where abuses are endemic.