I thank Special Representative Abdoulaye Bathily for his presentation. I would also like to thank the Chairman of the Libya Sanctions Committee for his presentation and his work as Chair of the Committee. I also welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Libya.
“We care about Libya, we care about civil rights and we want our living conditions to be improved.” This is what Libyans said during the series of inclusive human rights dialogues organised by Switzerland, as co-chair of the Berlin Process Working Group on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
This call by the Libyan people should not be ignored. We therefore join the call for free and fair elections and call on all Libyan stakeholders to engage constructively and resolutely in this process. In order to make elections possible as soon as possible, the consistent and unwavering support of the international community to the Special Representative and his recent initiative is necessary. Furthermore, Switzerland welcomes regional initiatives to promote intra-Libyan dialogue and to support this process. Finally, we recall the responsibility to safeguard the participation of women in political functions, as well as that of elected women representatives, so that they contribute to political processes at all levels, free from threats or reprisals.
Particularly in view of the latest developments in neighbouring Sudan, which will have consequences for the region, we welcome the recent progress made in Libya in the field of security by the 5+5 Joint Military Committee, with the establishment of a joint military force and liaison committees with neighbouring countries. And we hope that this trend will continue.
Any progress on the security front must be accompanied by progress on the political front. For example, in order to organise free and fair elections, an environment is needed in which the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly can be exercised. Switzerland is concerned about arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment that prevent civil society actors from expressing themselves freely. In addition, bureaucratic restrictions in the form of registration requirements stifle and criminalise the work of Libyan and international civil society organisations. We need to be clear on this point: civil society plays a fundamental role in promoting human rights and the rule of law, and concrete steps must be taken to protect civil society space. For this reason, Switzerland calls for the adoption of a law on civil society organisations in Libya that complies with international law. Several proposals for a law have already been drafted by Libyan organisations.
Finally, we would like to express our concern that the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya mandated by the Human Rights Council has found reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Libya, including against migrants. The perpetrators of these crimes must be held responsible and brought to justice. Switzerland urges the Libyan authorities to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court. Migrant children, in particular unaccompanied children, are one of the most vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, they continue to be held arbitrarily, together with adults, in detention centres across the country, with limited access to basic protection, health services and legal assistance. This injustice must stop. Indeed, Switzerland firmly believes that respect for human rights is essential to achieve peace and stability in Libya, and remains committed to working with the international community to this end.