Libya Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Abbreviated as LBY by Abbreviationfinder, Libya has been in a state of war since 2011 with a difficult-to-understand number of actors involved. Many of them are abusing people. The UN is trying to drive a democratic process, but some stable elected institutions have not emerged since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The judiciary is out of play. Widespread lawlessness also creates difficult working conditions for mass media.

Elections for a new National Council were held following the fall of Gaddafi and Ali Zaydan, then prime minister, sought to appoint a new government. There were several ministers from the Gaddict dictatorship. There were protests directly and Libya’s basic problems were confirmed: Landers are moving in different directions and have their own militias, generally based in different clans. How do you get to a functioning state, where someone must be entrusted with the responsibility of, for example, the police? All groups also want to control the oil sources and the Riksbank.

  • Countryaah: Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Libya, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.

A provisional electoral system and electoral authority were established in 2011. A draft constitution was adopted in 2017 by a constitutional assembly elected in 2014 – in an election that did not meet democratic basic requirements. Political parties are not lacking, but there are no nationwide functions that can carry out a referendum on the constitution or reliable elections. Thus, transitional rules are not replaced by a permanent democratic system, and the work of the provisional bodies is paralyzed by fragmentation. Terrorist groups such as IS have also been able to take advantage of the disorder that prevails. They not only attack opponents, but also the attempts to get to elections and updated laws (see Calendar). All in all, it becomes difficult and dangerous also for those who want to pursue political demands with peaceful methods, or allow themselves to be elected. Civilian mayors have been replaced by military commanders in areas controlled by General Khalifa Haftar.

Migrants who are in large numbers in Libya – most of them coming from countries further south in Africa – have been stuck in unbearable situations. EU countries do not want to receive them and in Libya they are lawless. Many are camped or monitored by smugglers and militiamen, often subject to crime. Both forced labor and slave auctions have been reported (see Calendar).

In a situation where no reliable systems intervene against, among other things, smuggling and black trade with oil, both government institutions and private industries are subject to corruption. In Transparency International’s ranking for 2018, Libya occupies an unprecedented place 168 out of 180 countries, see list here.

Freedom of expression and media

Previously, the entire media sector was controlled by the state or by dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s family. The news flow was heavily politicized and censored. When the regime fell in 2011, the old media collapsed.

An explosive development with new media followed, but most were small and had little scope. The newly won freedom was also soon overplayed in the chaotic state that ensued. The media landscape has become polarized, politicized and violent.

In 2014, the National Congress passed a law that allowed satellite TV channels criticizing the government or the “destabilized country” to have their broadcasting rights revoked. Furthermore, a law was passed which meant that public criticism of the 2011 Gaddafi uprising could result in 15 years in prison. The lawmakers also used advocacy laws from the Gaddafi era to convict journalists of slander.

The disintegration that continued after 2014 has not made the situation better. Islamist groups that took control of Tripoli also took over state television. The government that was in Tobruk shut down media considered Islamist. The proliferation of the detention forces across the country and the offensive against Tripoli has led to mass media falling between two fires.

Few magazines come out. Violence and threats from militia groups are very common, even kidnappings, and many journalists have fled the country. Reporters Without Borders, which rank the freedom of the press in the world, placed Libya in 164 of 180 countries in 2020, see list here.

Judicial system and legal security

Today, there are no authorities that can adequately maintain security. Militias act without risk of reprisals. Contending parties have been guilty of arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, murder, disappearance and summary executions. Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes. According to the UN, probably all major players have been guilty of war crimes. The situation has deteriorated in the disintegration after 2014.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has been investigating abuses in Libya since 2011 and has issued arrest warrants for several people. Among those the ICC wants to examine are Gaddafi’s son Sayf al-Islam, who in 2017 was released from a militia-run prison in Zintan, after six years. The militia invoked an amnesty decision by the rulers of eastern Libya, while the UN-backed government in Tripoli in the west condemned the decision. In a court in the west, Gaddafisonen is sentenced to death by arching.

A commander of the Haftar forces in the east, a person suspected of summary executions by the ICC, appealed to authorities in eastern Libya in early 2018, but was subsequently released by his supporters in support of him. In connection with Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli, which began in the spring of 2019, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has stated that evidence of new attacks on civilians will be handed over to the ICC.