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Human rights conditions in Libya regressed sharply in 2014. Since May 2014, parties to the armed conflicts have directly attacked and abducted civilians and looted, burned and otherwise destroyed civilian infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Unidentified assailants killed at least 250 activists, journalists, politicians, and members of the armed forces in eastern Libya. Armed groups, including those loyal to the Islamic State, have engaged in summary executions, particularly in the city of Derna.

Given the gravity and urgency of the situation, the HRC’s efforts to address the situation through technical assistance are inadequate. The ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Libya falls directly within the Human Rights Council’s mandate to address human rights violations and respond to human rights emergencies.

The Human Rights Council has a role to play to confront the culture of impunity. It should create an international Commission of Inquiry, or a similar investigative mechanism, with the mandate of investigating individual criminal responsibility for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all sides in Libya, since March 2012. The mechanism should establish the facts, collect and conserve information, and identify those responsible for serious crimes, with a view to ensuring accountability.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011 but has failed to pursue additional investigations into ongoing serious crimes. The Council should also urge Libya to cooperate with the ICC, as required under UN Security Council resolution 1970.

South Sudan

Both government and opposition forces in South Sudan’s conflict have perpetrated multiple, grave human rights abuses against civilians. Thousands of civilians have been killed, very often in targeted killings based on their ethnicity or presumed allegiances and including in gruesome massacres. Pillage and wanton destruction by forces from both parties have laid towns and large areas to waste and an estimated 1.9 million people have been displaced. Despite the magnitude of the war crimes no justice has been provided yet and, with the conflict well into its second year and likely to worsen in coming months, UN member states need to promote and support justice to address these international crimes.

The HRC should condemn in the strongest terms violations of international humanitarian law and other serious violations and abuses of international human rights law, establish a Special Rapporteur to monitor and publicly report on violations and follow up with particular attention on steps by all stakeholders to ensure justice and accountability, call on South Sudan to commit to accountability and for the UN, AU and South Sudan to take steps to establish an independent hybrid judicial mechanism and/or investigations by the ICC.

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