Thursday, February 16, 2012

Libya: “Out of control” militias commit widespread abuses, a year on from uprising

Amnesty International

15 February 2012

"Armed militias operating across Libya commit widespread human rights abuses with impunity, fuelling insecurity and hindering the rebuilding of state institutions, warned Amnesty International in a new report released today, a year on from the start of the February 2011 uprising.

The report Militias threaten hopes for new Libya, documents widespread and serious abuses, including war crimes, by a multitude of militias against suspected al-Gaddafi loyalists, with cases of people being unlawfully detained and tortured – sometimes to death.

African migrants and refugees have also been targeted, and revenge attacks have been carried out, forcibly displacing entire communities – while the authorities have done nothing to investigate the abuses and hold those responsible to account.

“Militias in Libya are largely out of control and the blanket impunity they enjoy only encourages further abuses and perpetuates instability and insecurity,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

“A year ago Libyans risked their lives to demand justice. Today their hopes are being jeopardized by lawless armed militias who trample human rights with impunity. The only way to break with the entrenched practices of decades of abuse under Colonel al-Gaddafi’s authoritarian rule is to ensure that nobody is above the law and that investigations are carried out into such abuses”.

In January and early February 2012, Amnesty International delegates visited 11 detention facilities in central and western Libya used by various militias and at 10 of these locations, detainees said they had been tortured or ill-treated en situ, and showed Amnesty International injuries resulting from recent abuse. Several detainees said they had confessed to rape, killings and other crimes they had not committed just to end the torture......"

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