UNSMIL concerned by increased abductions, detention and disappearances since start of Tripoli fighting
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 May 2019:
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said that it is deeply concerned about increased cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, abduction, kidnapping and disappearance in Libya, inflicted upon officials, activists and journalists. These cases warn of deterioration of the rule of law in Libya, it added.
In its statement released yesterday it emphasized that under International Human Rights Law (IHRL), everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one may be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. Enforced disappearances are also prohibited by IHRL, as are abductions and kidnappings, it added. It reminded all parties to the conflict that they must adhere to human rights and rule of law obligations. All authorities must operate under the rule of law and ensure that arrests and detention fully comply with due process and fundamental fairness, the statement read.
UNSMIL noted that since the beginning of the current conflict in Tripoli, there has been a sharp increase in abductions, disappearances and arbitrary arrests. At least seven officials and employees were arbitrarily detained or kidnapped in East and West Libya. The fate of all these victims remains unknown, and there may be others who have disappeared under similar circumstances, it explained.
Journalists also continue to face increasing threats, intimidation and violence, often in connection with reporting on the conflict or calling for peace. The fate of the two journalists working for the Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel who were abducted on 2 May remains unknown. UNSMIL calls for their immediate unconditional release and safe return to their families.
Concluding its statement, UNSMIL called on all parties to immediately release anyone arbitrarily arrested and detained, and not to engage in abduction, kidnapping or enforced disappearance. The taking of hostages during a conflict is a violation of International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime, it warned.