‘The political stalemate persists with no clear end in sight’ – United Nations envoy (UN)

The political stalemate persists in Libya and the prospects for elections are bleak, the head of the UN mission there, UNSMIL, said on Monday in his first briefing to the Security Council.

Special Representative Abdoulaye Bathily arrived in the country this month and has prioritized consultations with political, institutional, security and civil society representatives in an effort to address these challenges.

“The situation in Libya calls for a consensual process of relegitimizing the state. Legitimate institutions capable of meeting the basic needs of the population must be established on the basis of genuine political will. In this process, the conduct of legislative and presidential elections is paramount,” he said.

Impasse and violence

Libya has been divided between two rival administrations for more than a decade, following the overthrow and assassination of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) is based in the western capital, Tripoli, while the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) controls the east.

The signing of a UN-brokered ceasefire in October 2020 paved the way for long-awaited elections in December 2021, which were postponed due to disagreement over the legal basis for the vote.

Last August, deadly clashes between the two camps rocked Tripoli. The crisis was sparked in March, after the eastern parliament chose a new government, but the UN and the internationally-backed prime minister refused to step down.

No end in sight

“The political stalemate persists with no clear end in sight to the protracted impasse over the executive,” Mr Bathily told the Council.

“Furthermore, efforts to resolve outstanding issues related to the constitutional basis for elections do not appear to be leading to concrete action by relevant actors, further delaying prospects for holding inclusive, free and fair elections. aimed at ending the transition and restoring the legitimacy of the institutions.

listen to people

The UN envoy is holding consultations “to design a response to these daunting political challenges”, and significant differences remain over how the Libyans want to overcome the crisis.

“In response to the almost unanimous condemnation in all areas of the presence of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces in Libya and the continued foreign interference in the affairs of the country, I stressed to all my interlocutors that the solution to the crisis must come from within Libya, based on the will of the Libyan people,” he told the Council.

Mr Bathily urged Libyan leaders “to hear the people’s aspiration for peace, stability, economic development and responsive leadership”.

Impasse impacting security

Meanwhile, although the ceasefire continues to hold, the political stalemate has had a negative impact on security action.

Violent clashes in Tripoli have caused a shift in the balance of power in the capital and heightened tensions, leading to fragile stability.

“Despite the noticeable decrease in the mobilization of armed groups and clashes between them, there are reports of large-scale recruitment activities taking place,” he said.

On a positive note, Mr. Bathily said that the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC), which brings together representatives of both sides, will meet next week in Sirte to discuss activities aimed at continuing the implementation of the ceasefire. -fire.

Addressing human rights

With regard to human rights, the envoy regretted that the situation in the country remains worrying.

Violations against migrants and asylum seekers “continue with impunity” while “arbitrary detention continues to be a common practice”, he said.

Mr. Bathily called on the authorities to take immediate action to address the dire situation of migrants and refugees and to dismantle trafficking and criminal networks.

Libyan authorities reported that as of October 1, nearly 11,000 people, including 55 women, were serving sentences in prisons run by the judicial police.

justice denied

In addition, nearly 6,000 people are in pre-trial detention, including 113 women and 135 minors. Overall, these numbers represent a 40% increase since August.

“Many remand prisoners, who represent a third of the total prison population, are being held without access to justice. These figures do not include the approximately 3,243 migrants arbitrarily detained in government-run detention centers,” he added.

Mr. Bathily said the Libyan authorities should guarantee due process and a fair trial to those detained on credible charges. He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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