Libya “Must End Plight of Displaced Communities”

The Libyan authorities must urgently find a durable solution to end the continued forcible displacement of tens of thousands of Tawarghas [Tawerghas] and other communities, from their hometown during the armed conflict of 2011, said Amnesty International.

The entire inhabitants of the town of Tawargha – some 40,000 people – were driven out by armed groups from Misratah who accused them of supporting Colonel al-Gaddafi’s government. An Amnesty International briefing Barred from their Home, published on the second anniversary of the end of the conflict, highlights the continued discrimination, abductions and arbitrary detention of the Tawargha, who still face threats and reprisal attacks at the hand of militias acting above the law.

“Two years after the conflict, Tawarghas and other displaced communities are still waiting for justice and effective reparations for the abuses they have suffered. Many continue to face discrimination and live in under resourced camps with no solution in sight,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

Today Tawargha is a ghost town. Anti-Gaddafi fighters, seeking revenge over war crimes they believe the Tawarghas committed on behalf of Gaddafi in Misratah, looted and burned down their homes. For months after the conflict, the Tawarghas were hunted by militias and suffered arbitrary arrests, torture and killings.

The Tawargha continue to face threats and attacks on their camps from militia members who have threatened to stop any attempt by them to return. The authorities have failed to ensure their safe return and have also repeatedly deterred the Tawargha from returning for security reasons.

“It is unthinkable that the victims of abuses have been asked to relinquish their right to safe return, while the militias and others threatening them have gone unchallenged”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

“The demands of Misratah’s residents for accountability for war crimes in their city are justified, but justice cannot be selective and a whole community cannot be collectively punished.”

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