Amnesty International has urged the UN Security Council to impose targeted sanctions against rival Libyan militia groups to help end human rights abuses in the city of Benghazi.
In its briefing entitled ‘Benghazi’s descent into chaos: abductions, summary killings and other abuses’, Amnesty has documented a series of abuses carried out by fighters from the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries and forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar’s Operation Dignity campaign since May 2014.
Amnesty has called for travel bans and asset freezes, and urged the International Criminal Court to include war crimes committed by all rebel groups in its investigations of the 2011 uprising and armed conflict.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: ”For months, Libya’s politicians and armed groups have been fighting over who is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
”But what is going on in Benghazi shows us that all sides are responsible for serious human rights abuses and ordinary Libyans are caught between two fires.
”Unless the international community demonstrates the will to investigate war crimes and hold perpetrators accountable, the cycle of abuses and the suffering of victims is likely to worsen.”
UN talks in Geneva, Switzerland, have provided hope, but Amnesty insists more needs to be done.
Sahraoui added: ”Efforts to reach a political settlement will be meaningless if they do not ensure human rights concerns are addressed.
”Human rights abuses committed by the warring parties are fuelling grievances and cannot be swept under the carpet.”
Image: Libyan militia groups have been accused of human rights abuses in Benghazi. Photo: courtesy of Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori.