Bathily highlights armed groups and human rights issues at UNSC briefing

Jun 19, 2023 | International actors

In his briefing to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 19 June, UN Special Envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily stated that there is a widespread fear amongst Libyans that, should the conflict in Sudan last longer, its spill-over consequences might pose a new set of challenges to the stability of Libya and the region. In this regard, he said, the withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya would remain elusive. He noted that although Tripoli remained fairly calm, ‘ongoing operations conducted by the Government against drug, weapons, fuel, and human trafficking activities in Zawiyya and surrounding areas, have prompted allegations of political motives and therefore could risk undermining the relative stability in Tripolitania.’ He called on the authorities to protect civilians as a top priority in these operations. He also noted a concerning increase of ‘excessive controls by security agencies who, together with other actors, restrict fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of movement.’

Additionally, Bathily highlighted the introduction by the Internal Security Agency (ISA) of a new procedure that restricts women’s freedom of movement by requiring women departing alone from Libyan airports in the western region to complete a form on reasons for travel abroad without a male-companion. He also flagged the ‘alarming’ decision by the GNU to regulate civil society organizations based on the law No.19 of 2001, ‘a restrictive historical law that asserts State control over civil society activities’ and warned that the forcing of confessions from persons in custody by security actors is in violation of Libyan and international laws.