Annual Report: Libya 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Libya 2011

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The authorities took no steps to investigate past gross human rights violations or bring to justice those responsible.

  • No investigation was held into the enforced disappearance of Jaballah Hamed Matar (brother of Mahmud Hamed Matar) and 'Ezzat Youssef al-Maqrif, prominent members of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a banned political opposition group, who are believed to have been detained by Egyptian security officials in Cairo and handed to the Libyan authorities in March 1990.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

In June, Law No. 19 of 2010 on Combating Irregular Migration was passed. This provides for indefinite detention followed by deportation of those believed to be irregular migrants, and allows no right of appeal.

On 8 June, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, disclosed that the Libyan government had ordered it to cease operation; it was subsequently permitted to partially resume its work but was no longer allowed to process new refugee cases or visit detention centres.

Thousands of suspected irregular migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, were held in severely overcrowded conditions in detention centres until July, when the authorities released over 4,000 of them and granted them three months' temporary residence.

Suspected irregular migrants faced habitual verbal abuse, beatings and other ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture, while detained. In early July, the Libyan leader called for an investigation into reports that about 200 Eritrean nationals had been beaten by security officials at Misratah Detention Centre on 30 June and during their forcible transfer to Al-Birak Detention Centre. By the end of the year, no information had been disclosed about the outcome of the investigation.

Women's rights

The law continued to discriminate against women, notably in relation to marriage, divorce and inheritance, and polygamy remained allowed for men.

In January, a new nationality law was adopted to permit Libyan women married to foreign spouses the right to pass on Libyan nationality to their children on a similar basis as permitted for Libyan men married to foreign spouses.

Discrimination - members of the Tabu community

Members of the Tabu community in south-eastern Libya faced discriminatory measures. The authorities refused to renew or issue passports, birth certificates and other identification documents, and schools in Kufra municipality refused to enrol some Tabu students.

Forced evictions of members of the Tabu community continued in Kufra until early April; families told Amnesty International that those evicted were neither consulted about the evictions nor provided with alternative housing.

Death penalty

At least 18 prisoners, possibly more, were reported to have been executed, many of them foreign nationals. In May, a newspaper close to Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi reported that over 200 people were on death row.

In December, Libya was one of the minority of states that voted against the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.