Libya Human Rights


Since the fall of the Gaddafi Government in 2011, forces affiliated to three rival governments, as well as armed groups and militias, have committed serious violations of international law and abuses of human rights with impunity. The civilian population has been at risk for over 10 years.

During 2020, militias, armed groups and third states, backing warring parties, committed violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes, with impunity. Fighting in and around the capital, Tripoli, and other cities in western Libya between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) led to the killing and wounding of civilians, mass displacement, and damage to civilian infrastructure, including hospitals. In violation of the UN arms embargo, Turkey, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among other countries, continued to supply their allies with arms and military equipment, including banned anti-personnel mines. Thousands of people were detained arbitrarily without trial or the possibility to challenge the legality of their detention. Militias and armed groups abducted people on the basis of their actual or perceived political, regional or tribal affiliation and nationality, including protesters, journalists, doctors, government employees and civil society activists; took hostages for ransom; and tortured or otherwise ill-treated them in official and unofficial places of detention. Women, girls and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community continued to face discrimination and violence. Members of ethnic minorities struggled to access adequate health care and other essential services. Officials, members of armed groups and militias, and criminal gangs systematically subjected detained refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants to torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful killings, sexual violence and forced labour.

The situation for human rights in Libya in 2021 remains uncertain. On the one hand, an interim government of Libya has been established until elections later this year, with both GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj and General Khalifa (LNA) indicating their support during the peace process. On the other hand, a report by a U.N. panel of experts has documented ubiquitous and ongoing violations of the 2011 Libyan arms embargo, and militias backed by Turkey, Russia, France, the United Arab Emirates, and other powers continue to exert influence.

Libya Newsroom

February 4, 2021 • Press Release

As Biden Ends Support to Conflict in Yemen, Arms Flows Must Also be Stopped

Responding an announcement today from the Biden administration that the United States will cease support to the Saudi/UAE-led coalition engaged in Yemen, Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa said:

December 9, 2020 • Press Release

Senate Vote Authorizing Arms Sales to the UAE Could Fuel More War Crimes in Yemen, Libya Conflicts

Responding to authorization today from the United States Senate to sell several advanced military capabilities that are worth $23.37 billion and export over $7.2s billion in defense articles to the …

November 18, 2020 • Press Release

The Libya Stabilization Act will mean accountability for abuses

Responding to the passage of H.R. 4644, the Libya Stabilization Act in Congress, Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa said: “The Libya Stabilization Act …

November 9, 2020 • Press Release

Arms Sales to the UAE could make U.S. responsible for more deaths of civilians in Yemen and Libya

Ahead of plans by the United States to sell 18 armed aerial drones worth approximately $2.9 billion to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the …

September 24, 2020 • Report

New evidence shows refugees and migrants in Libya trapped in horrific cycle of abuses

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya are trapped in a vicious cycle of cruelty with little to no hope of finding safe and legal pathways out, Amnesty International said …

August 26, 2020 • Press Release

Heavy weaponry used in Libya to disperse peaceful protesters demanding economic rights

At least six peaceful protesters were abducted and several others were wounded after armed men fired live ammunition including from heavy machine-guns to disperse a demonstration in Tripoli on August …

June 24, 2020 • Press Release

Fact-finding mission to investigate crimes in Libya is a welcome step

We call on all parties to the conflict and their allies to fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission’s investigation team and help facilitate their work with a view to bringing all those responsible for these violations to justice.

April 21, 2020 • Press Release

Historic discrimination in Libya threatens right to health of minorities in the south amid COVID-19

The Libyan authorities and militias in control of southern cities and towns and international donors must ensure that those most marginalized are factored into their emergency public health response to …

July 3, 2019 • Press Release

Abhorrent attack on migrant detention center in Libya must be investigated as a war crime

The International Criminal Court must order an urgent investigation into an abhorrent attack on the Tajoura immigration detention center in eastern Tripoli, Libya, in which at least 40 refugees and …

July 2, 2019 • Press Release

UN arms embargo violations put Tripoli’s 1.2 million civilians in grave danger

The lives and security of Tripoli’s 1.2 million civilians hang in the balance as warring parties use a range of sophisticated weapons imported into Libya in contravention of a UN arms …