UN Libya rights probe stalled due to cashflow problems

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The United Nations does not have enough funds to investigate rights violations in strife-torn Libya this year, the Human Rights Council decided on Tuesday.

In June, the UN’s top rights body, with the support of Tripoli, adopted a resolution calling for a fact-finding mission to be sent to the north African country to document abuses committed there by all parties since 2016.

These experts, appointed in August by the UN, were to present a report on their findings in March 2021.

But the UN is currently going through a serious liquidity crisis because many countries have not paid their annual dues, and it is therefore unable to fulfil all its mandates.

The Human Rights Council adopted Tuesday without a vote a resolution to postpone the implementation of more than a dozen prior resolutions, including that on Libya, until 2021.

“There are mandates that could not be carried out in full … because they had not received the sufficient funds, mostly for staffing needs,” rights council spokesman Rolando Gomez said.

Investigators will now have more time — until September 2021 — to submit their reports, in the hope that in the meantime, the UN finds the money to fund their mandates.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Rival power centres as well as a myriad of militias are vying for control, while human rights violations are often overlooked.

The two main factions are based around the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli and a parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive on Tripoli in April 2019.

In June, the UN expressed its “horror” after reports of the discovery of mass graves in a region which fell to pro-government forces.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, co-chaired a meeting on Libya attended by foreign ministers, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Participants welcomed the establishment of the fact-finding mission and committed to support its work and its investigation team.

 

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