CONTINUED TARGETING OF SUBSAHARAN AFRICANS IN LIBYA: URGENT PROTECTION MEASURES REQUIRED - Open Letter to David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

20/09/2011
Press release

Dear Mr Cameron,

Following your recent visit to Libya, we are writing to highlight the continued violations and racist attacks against people of Sub-Saharan origin in the country and to request your support in calling for urgent measures to protect this vulnerable population. Our concerns have been shared with the National Transitional Council in a letter dated 20 September 2011.

In May 2011, FIDH documented widespread violence against migrants of Sub-Saharan origin, falsely accused of being mercenaries, in areas of Eastern Libya under the control of the Interim National Council. You will find a copy of the FIDH report, Exiles from Libya flee to Egypt: Double tragedy for Sub-Saharan Africans, enclosed. The types of violation documented by FIDH in its report, including extra-judicial killings, beatings, rapes and other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment, have been confirmed by the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by other international NGO and numerous media reports.

Recent events have exacerbated our concerns. Since the end of August, in Tripoli, there have been widespread reports of killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment of black Africans by opponents to Gaddafi’s regime.

Such acts represent grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. They may also amount to war crimes and as such fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

We have thus called upon the National Transitional Council to issue an immediate public statement condemning these acts and calling for effective investigations into these crimes in accordance with Libya’s obligations under international law.

We have also called for the ratification of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, the adoption of a provision on non-discrimination in the draft constitution, in accordance with international law and of measures to fight the climate of racism and xenophobia that fuels such violations.

In view of Britain’s role in the change that has swept through Libya, we hope that the British government will use this opportunity to make every effort to bring about human rights reforms.

We look forward to receiving your response to the issues raised in this letter and to exchanging further with you on these matters of grave concern and on the urgent measures required.

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr Belhassen
FIDH President

Read more
communique