Last March, Human Rights Watch called on the Government of National Unity, after winning the confidence of the House of Representatives, to give priority to human rights in Libya.
Hanan Salah, the organization’s senior Libya researcher, noted at the time that “the new Libyan government should give urgent priority to the rule of law, justice, and accountability, all of which are essential to ensuring free and fair elections. The real test for the government in the December elections will be the authorities’ ability to protect participants’ freedom of assembly, association and expression.”
In its call for the government, Human Rights Watch noted that there are systematic abuses and arbitrary prolonged detention of thousands, enforced disappearances, and torture by armed groups operating with impunity and current authorities.
On the other hand, Amnesty International called on the Government of National Unity to prioritize human rights and address the impunity crisis.
The organization stated in its report on the human rights and humanitarian file in Libya, which it issued last May: “The Government of National Unity is facing difficulties in imposing its full control over the country, which for many years has been ruled by armed groups and militias that are not accountable.”
9 points addressed to the unity government:
During that period, Amnesty International prepared a nine-point human rights agenda that the national unity government called on to implement, the first of which was to “contain militias and armed groups and combat the phenomenon of impunity. To cooperate with United Nations mechanisms such as the fact-finding mission established to investigate human rights violations and to put an end to arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and unfair trials, as well as to respect and protect freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, protect the rights of migrants and refugees and take the necessary measures to facilitate Return of internally displaced persons, combating sexual and other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination in all its forms, taking measures to ensure equal access to adequate health care, and taking the necessary steps to abolish the death penalty.”
Mansour Atti .. Not the last:
With all these calls from international organizations and Libyan calls by jurists and legal activists, for years, to this day, no suitable and safe environment has been produced for opinion-holders and those working within civil society institutions.
Some armed groups in Libya are still practicing their criminal activities away from the official institutions of the state, in kidnappings, enforced disappearances, killings, torture, and terrorizing those who utter a word that disagrees with their opinion.
Another name recently joined the list of kidnapped people in Libya, after the Head of the Libyan Red Crescent revealed the disappearance of the director of the Ajdabiya Red Crescent branch, Mansour Atti, last Thursday.
No official entity in Libya issued any clarification or statement about the kidnapping of Mansour Atti, which makes the human rights file in Libya an embarrassing file for the Government of National Unity and the Presidential Council, due to the lack of possible treatment to avoid any similar incidents in the near future.
Elections and Enforced Disappearance:
Perhaps the missing question now is, what does the upcoming elections have to do with enforced disappearance? This is what Human Rights Watch answers, which stated in its report on Libya for the year 2020, that the judicial and detention system remained dysfunctional due to impunity, insecurity, and armed conflicts.
Mansour Atti and elections:
The other answer to this question lies in the kidnapping of Mansour Atti, himself, who is considered one of the most prominent young people in Libya who have a remarkable activity in laying democratic foundations and helping to create a new reality for young people.
On May 27, Mansour Atti published, on his Facebook page, about “the adoption of the minutes of the committee’s meetings, including the recommendations reached by the committee after deliberations among its members that began on Monday, May 24, and continued for three continuous days. The recommendations centered on launching a joint project to support civil society in monitoring elections.
At the time, Atti explained that the training is based on “a number of observers equal to the number of electoral stations expected in the upcoming elections, and in accordance with the standards and legal controls followed in the work of the Electoral Commission, in addition to developing mechanisms to implement the proposed plan and focusing on the importance of this monitoring in the integrity and transparency of the elections expected in December 24, 2021″.
Who protects elections?
This means that the security crisis in Libya, and the absence of a unified authority represented by a unified army and security services, may obstruct the electoral process and, in turn, produce successive crises, most notably silencing mouths and restricting freedoms, which makes the task of the upcoming elections a difficult task for the unity government that is concerned with leading Libya for the next stage.
In its statement on the security crisis in Libya for years, Amnesty International’s Diana El-Tahawy reinforced her saying: “Successive governments have sought to appease the powerful and out-of-control militias, and ensure their loyalty by praising them, granting them high positions, and legitimizing them.”
Elections and Civil Rights:
According to the United Nations definition, elections “constitute a vital part of democratic processes including democratic transition, implementation of peace agreements and the consolidation of democracy. The United Nations plays a key role in providing international assistance for these important processes of change.”
In other words, elections are not a goal, but a means of crossing over to a democratic state that respects civil rights. In all countries, the term “elections” is associated with citizenship and the state of legal institutions and legislation that guarantees the unity, sovereignty, and rights of citizens.
After this brief account, it can be said that elections require several basic factors, the most prominent of which are respect for opinions, non-exclusion and ensuring the freedom of the individual in his choices. These factors have not been available until now in Libya, which makes the future of the upcoming elections unclear, in light of the marginalization of the most important foundations, which are civil rights and the end of the enforced disappearance file, which is the most present and important file before paving the way for a new stage in Libya.