Mitri Speaks on Human Rights in Libya

I believe that you have discussed the human rights problems in Libya in a responsible, frank and serious manner. We stand with you, not only in diagnosing the well-known problems, but also in addressing them swiftly, without delay. We may have witnessed limited progress in certain areas, such as those of displaced persons, migrants and refugees, prisons and other detention facilities, as well as fair and expeditious judicial due processes. The call for more progress cannot wait, for deficient state capacities, institutional and human, should not be used as a pretext or a reason to maintain the conditions as they are. The empowerment of a nascent state is not the responsibility of government officials alone, but the responsibility of all, especially the dynamic forces in society. We stand with you in demanding speed – but not hastiness, in moving the legislative process forward, regarding especially transitional justice that puts an end to the impunity of those who committed crimes in the past, while paving the way for a genuine reconciliation that helps Libya heal its wounds and rebuild its national unity on new foundations.

While the legislative process is respectful of the classical democratic rule of resolving differences through voting, seeking consensus remains a desirable approach in light of Libya’s current transition. Libya has witnessed polemics and divisions over some laws, one of which is the Political Isolation law; however, bridging the gap, which was a reason for and a result of, the issuance of the law, will not be impossible to achieve if some of the confusions are dispelled, and if criteria are scrutinized, fair and transparent implementation is monitored, and the right to appeal decisions before courts without discrimination or arbitrariness is assured. On the other hand, additional laws were enacted with little opposition, and by that I mean the Law on Criminalization of Torture and Forced Disappearance, and other laws do not seem to be the subject of much controversy, such as those related to victims of rape.

We in UNSMIL look forward with you to advance the enactment and application of laws related to the various issues that were raised during this conference. We are always ready to offer advice and technical assistance. We also look forward with you to take steady steps on the constitutional path in a manner that lays the foundation for a new social contract grounded in the agreement between Libyans on the meaning of their living together, national identity, basic human rights, those of individuals and groups, and drawing inspiration from their religious and cultural heritage.

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to those who convened this conference and to all who contributed to its deliberations. And I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of those who work tirelessly for human rights. Please allow me to conclude by expressing my admiration to those who stood bravely and relentlessly in opposition to the dictatorial rule and who continue today defending and upholding human rights, and reaffirm their commitment to the safeguarding of human dignity in the name of the ethics of their revolution as well as their religious and humanist values.

May the peace of God be upon you,

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