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Libya: widespread human rights abuses and the worsening humanitarian crisis


By dxw

In the lead up to the ‘Contact Group’ meeting in Qatar, UK officials met with international experts on human rights and the Middle East to discuss Libya. This specially convened meeting ensured that human rights remain at the heart of UK policy.

Libya and human rights – the way forward

11 April 2011 (WP1127)

How to ensure that those who have committed human rights violations are held to account and that, in the future, the people of Libya will have their human rights respected and protected? These questions were discussed in a specially convened Wilton Park meeting at the FCO.  

In the context of the existing human rights architecture and in preparation for future prosecutions, the accurate and painstaking documentation of current human rights abuses is essential. Such testimony will also serve to further de-legitimise Gaddafi’s regime.  However, documenting statements is extremely difficult given limited access, the worsening humanitarian crisis and the prevailing climate of fear, including an ingrained suspicion of authority.  There is particular concern for the most vulnerable including women and people from ethnic minority groups and it is important to ensure that any future leadership in Libya recognises that they will be held to account under the human rights framework.

Participants included:

  • Abdurrahman Shalgham: Former Libyan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York
  • Philippe Sands: Professor of Law, Director of Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College London
  • Michael O’Flaherty: Vice-Chairperson, United Nations Human Rights Committee; Professor of Applied Human Rights, University of Nottingham.

Further information

Libya and Human rights – the way forward

Conference report on Libya and human rights: the way forward