Urgent and sustained international support is needed to help end the cycle of chaos and rampant abuse gripping Libya, said Amnesty International on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that brought an end to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s brutal authoritarian rule.
AI says forces loyal to ISIS have exploited the power vacuum created by the conflict to seize control of areas where they have terrorized the civilian population by enforcing their own interpretation of Islamic Law, carried out public lynchings – leaving victims’ corpses on display, as well as public floggings and amputations, and imposed a strict Islamic dress code on women.
“Migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya have also faced abduction, extortion, torture and sexual violence by smugglers and traffickers, as well as armed groups,” states AI.
“Over the past five years Libya has descended deeper into the abyss of human rights chaos, amid lawlessness, rampant abuse and war crimes by rival armed groups and militias, and the rising threat posed by the armed group calling itself Islamic state (IS). Restoring the rule of law must go hand in hand with justice for widespread crimes and vital humanitarian support. The world must not fail Libyans in their hour of need.”
AI also say Libya is plagued by clashes between rival militias and armed groups and is split between two governments – neither of which has effective control on the ground.
“A proposed Government of National Accord put forward this week by an internationally-backed presidency council is yet to be voted on by the House of Representatives. Parts of Benghazi, where crowds of protesters gathered in 2011, has been reduced to rubble,” states AI, adding that the scale of abuse is staggering with forces on all sides having carried out hundreds of abductions, taken hostages, tortured, ill-treated and summarily killed detainees, and launched indiscriminate attacks on residential areas in some cases amounting to war crimes.