Civilians Facing Abduction and Torture in Libya

15 May 2015

Civilians Facing Abduction and Torture in Libya

15 May 2015 - Armed groups across Libya are responsible for abductions of civilians including minors on account of their actual or perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a briefing note published today.

Those abducted are usually at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and are frequently denied any contact with their families. Some have died in custody, possibly summarily executed or tortured to death.

Abductions of civilians are perpetrated against the backdrop of ongoing fighting, deepening political crisis, terrorist attacks, the spread of the so-called Islamic State and other extremist groups, lawlessness and the breakdown of the criminal justice system, leaving victims and families with few avenues for redress.

Hostage-taking, torture and murder are war crimes. Those responsible for committing, ordering or failing to prevent such crimes when in a position to do so are criminally liable, including in front of the International Criminal Court.

UNSMIL underlines the commitment made by the parties to the Libyan political dialogue to address the issue of those illegally detained and the missing, also as part of confidence building measures, and notes that a number of prisoner exchanges have taken place in recent days and months.

UNSMIL calls on all those with effective control on the ground to refrain from abducting civilians on the basis of their identity or opinion; to immediately release all those held on such grounds; and to ensure the well-being of anyone deprived of their liberty.