Libyan Civil Society Meeting Stresses Peaceful Resolution, Unimpeded Access to humanitarian Aid

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21 Aug 2015

Libyan Civil Society Meeting Stresses Peaceful Resolution, Unimpeded Access to humanitarian Aid

Tunis, Tunisia, 20 August 2015 - A meeting of Libyan civil society organisations and activists convened in Tunis, Tunisia, on 19-20 August 2015. It included men and women active in human rights, humanitarian work, journalism and victims' organizations. The meeting was facilitated by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and sponsored by the European Union through its project Civil Initiatives Libya.

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Ali Al-Za'tari addressed the opening of the meeting. He stressed the significant role of civil society in the post-conflict building of a stable state and its important contribution to the ongoing political process to end the conflict as well as advocating and providing support as deemed necessary to the humanitarian response that the people badly need.

"We seek to determine the prospects for this role which you have taken up out of conviction that it is an urgent national need as well as a humanitarian and moral obligation," Mr. Al-Za'tari said. "Your meeting gives us hope that your country will rise again and will be better."

At the end of the meeting, participants emphasized Libya's sovereignty, territorial integrity and opposition to any foreign intervention. They stressed that all Libyans are equal partners in their country and that issues relating to public life should be addressed by peaceful and democratic methods.

Participants called for an immediate end of the violence and human rights abuses across the country and for the unimpeded access to humanitarian aid to all those in need without discrimination. They also called for the urgent conclusion of a political agreement which would draw Libya out of its current crisis and set the foundations for a democratic state under the rule of law and with respect for human rights. They developed a set of recommendations aimed at supporting the role of civil society and ensuring a peaceful and inclusive Libyan society. The recommendations are:

The Government of National Accord and the political process

  • Ensure that members of the government are individuals known for their integrity, independence, impartiality and competence;
  • Establish a vetting mechanism to ensure that those reasonably suspected of committing crimes under international law and persons under investigation by national courts or the International Criminal Court are excluded from public office;
  • Ensure the withdrawal and dissolution of all armed groups;
  • Ensure that security is brought to all Libyan cities and not just the capital, and that it relates to the people as well as to government institutions;
  • Establish clear safeguards and timelines to operationalize the political agreement and create mechanisms for the independent monitoring and reporting on its implementation, with the effective participation of civil society;
  • Ensure a more inclusive peace building process and national dialogue, supporting women’s effective participation and community and tribal initiatives;
  • Activate the role of a single National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights and include in its mandate the monitoring of the human rights provisions of the political agreement;
  • Reform the criminal justice system and uphold the independence of the judiciary;
  • Perpetrators of human rights violations and other crimes should be brought to justice. There should be no amnesty for such crimes;
  • Combat discrimination on any basis;
  • Address the situation of missing persons as well as detainees and those forcibly displaced
  • Create an enabling environment for civil society including by adopting legislation in line with international standards and conventions ratified by Libya, and building the capacity of NGOs;
  • Ensure government transparency including in budgeting and expenditures;
  • Implement the recommendations of the 2015 Universal Periodic Review;
  • Review the Transitional Justice Law to ensure the participation of civil society, including victims’ groups, that would guarantee their effective role;
  • Review the Law on Political and Administrative Isolation;
  • Review of the law on missing persons to apply to all missing without discrimination;
  • Adopt laws that implement international treaties ratified by the State.

Strengthening civil society and a culture of peace

  • Work to adopt legislation relevant to the work of civil society organizations and municipalities, in compliance with international standards, to ensure the effectiveness of their roles;
  • Develop civil society capacity with international support, ensuring the provision of comprehensive, coherent and coordinated capacity building programmes;
  • Develop a code of ethics to regulate the work of Libyan civil society organizations, including to ensure professionalism, independence and impartiality;
  • Support civil society in spreading a culture of peace, non-violence, respect for human rights and multiculturalism, ensuring it is reflected into educational programs;
  • Criminalize hate speech and incitement to war, violence and discrimination;
  • Support civil society in monitoring the legislative and executive authorities.