UN orders probe into human rights abuses in Libya

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The United Nations has established top rights body after prosecutors from the International Criminal Court (ICC) said mass graves discovered recently in the North African country may constitute war crimes.

At a meeting held on Monday, The UN Human Rights Council reached a consensus resolution and urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Libya.

According to the resolution, the experts will “document alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties in Libya since the beginning of 2016.”

The UN resolution condemned all acts of violence in Libya, expressing concerns at reports of “torture, sexual and gender-based violence and harsh conditions in prisons and detention centres.”

The resolution was put forward in March by a group of African countries, but the UN was forced to suspend its main annual session for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, postponing a vote by the 47-member council until Monday.

The council’s 43rd session resumed last week after Switzerland relaxed the measures imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19, and concluded Monday with the Libya resolution.

Tamim Baiou, Libya’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the council shortly before the resolution was adopted by consensus that he hoped it would mark “a turning point for a better future for Libya”.

Libya has been in crisis since 2011 after the government of Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising.

Since 2015, a power struggle has pitted the UN-recognised government in Tripoli against eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, with both sides backed by rival foreign powers.

 




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