The "King of the African Kings" celebrates Libya’s independence in the company of Robert Mugabe and Omar Al Bachir after African Summit in Tripoli

Press release

Paris- September 1, 2009: FIDH and its member organization in exile, the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR), deplore the support provided by the African Union Summit to President Khadafi’s authoritarian regime, reflected by statements made by the AU Commission’s president hailing the occasion last Tuesday as a double celebration "the 40th of the Libyan revolution and the 10th of the process that led to our current organization". The Libyan official news agency also quotes the Commission’s president proclaiming that remarkable progress has been made by Libya "in political, economic, social and cultural spheres", ignoring thereby the extreme repression against human rights defenders and opponents of the regime. The alarming nature of Libya’s policies against human rights defenders was recently witnessed by the unclear conditions surrounding the death of Fathi El-Jahmi, Libya’s most prominent advocate of democracy and respect of human rights.

FIDH and LLHR recall that the Libyan regime has been violating and still violates most of the principles enshrined in Article 4 of the AU Constitutive Act, namely the respect of democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance. In Libya no elections have been organized during the last 40 years. No elected legislative power exist in Libya and no political parties or free trade unions or independent civil societies are allowed in the country.

In power since a coup in 1969, President Khadafi has imposed a regime that explicitly prohibits the free expression of any critics to the government and the principles of the 1969 Revolution with sentences up to the death penalty (Law 71 of 1972, and Article 206 of the Penal Code). Libyan citizens are therefore not entitled to peacefully change their government, and are constantly denied their right to freedom of expression and association. Heavy punishments are inflicted to those who hold dissent views and dare to express their peaceful critics on the way public affairs are conducted.

The Libyan authorities reportedly hold political prisoners in lengthy incommunicado detention. There is no independent judiciary in Libya, and several reports show that torture, theoretically prohibited in the country, is a common practice in the detention facilities, and confessions obtained under torture are being used against defendants in courts proceedings. The Libyan authorities have made no effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these acts.
Furthermore, FIDH and LLHR recall that in recent years, Libya has been arbitrarily detained and migrants without distinction between refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants and collective deportations have been taking place on a wide scale, regardless of the risks these vulnerable people are facing back in their country of origin. According to official statistics, 2 million undocumented people from different African nationalities are believed to reside in Libya, waiting for an opportunity to cross the Mediterranean sea.

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