Despite lack of state protection of civic freedoms, hundreds protest corruption and inflation

Association & Assembly

Poor rule of law in Libya was recently acknowledged by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein during his global update on human rights conditions on 7th March 2018. He described his last country visit to Libya, stating that:

"I was alarmed by the near-complete lawlessness throughout the country, with almost total impunity for even the most serious crimes. I encourage all States to support the International Criminal Court's investigation into crimes against humanity committed in the country".

Despite the appalling lack of state protection for civil society and citizens' civic freedoms, the worsening political, economic and social instability has prompted Libyans to take to the streets and protest. As reported by the Libya Observer, on 3rd March 2018 protests were held in central Tripoli to denounce price increases on goods and condemn the widespread corruption in the country. According to local reports, hundreds of participants mobilised to demand that the politicians and officials in the west of the country leave. There were no reports of the protest being disrupted or turning violent. 

Expression

Weak public institutions, internal conflict and serious instability put Libya at 171 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index 2017. The latest index correlates weak public institutions, conflict and pervasive corruption with poor protections for the media and civil society.

The state's inability to protect media workers has led to an exodus of Libyan journalists. Ahead of the 7th-year anniversary of Libya's 17th February Revolution, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) drew attention to the abductions, torture and killings of media workers that has crippled Libya's media sector. In a statement on 16th February 2018, RSF noted that due to the harsh operating environment for independent media, journalists and other media workers have been forced to flee Libya in fear of their lives. RSF declared that:

"The situation for journalists and media in Libya is untenable...The country is hemorrhaging journalists, who prefer to go into exile in order to continue reporting or chose to stop all journalistic activity because it has become too dangerous. Those who decide to stay are trapped and must choose between the rival factions. Media freedom and independence is nonetheless crucial for democracy and the rule of law".
Tags: protest