The United Nations human rights office expressed “deep concern” today at reports of threats and intimidation directed against Libya’s national human rights institution, the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights (NCCLHR), based in Tripoli.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that according to reports, a number of worrying incidents occurred on 13 and 14 October.
“A staff member received a threatening phone call from someone claiming to represent brigades affiliated with Operation Libya Dawn. The staff member left Tripoli immediately,” she said, adding that others associated with the Council have also been threatened by people claiming to be affiliated with Operation Libya Dawn.
She said that a group of armed men visited the premises of the Council requesting the hand-over of keys and official stamps. Council staff refused the request. In a separate visit, armed men sought to question a number of senior staff members of the NCCLHR who were not there at the time.
“We call upon all parties to immediately desist from such intimidation and threats, and to allow the Council to carry out its activities in an independent manner free of harassment or other hostile action,” she said.
Independent National Human Rights Institutions are instrumental for the protection and promotion of human rights at the national level, and are the cornerstone of the national protection system.
“We also reiterate our call for those found responsible for human rights violations and abuses to be held to account under international and Libyan law,” said Ms. Shamdasani.