United States calls for thorough investigation into human rights abuses in Libya

The reports of human rights violations in Libya are deeply concerning, and should be investigated so that those responsible are held accountable, said Acting Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis.

“The U.S. government is deeply alarmed by the reports of continued atrocities and other human rights abuses in Libya – arbitrary killings; indiscriminate airstrikes; forced disappearances; torture, unlawful detention; sexual and gender-based violence,” DeLaurentis said at a U.N. Security Council briefing Monday.

The Ambassador went on to indicate that the United States is fully supportive of the United Nations’ creation of an international fact-finding mission to investigate the reported abuses.

According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of residents in the northern Libyan town of Tarhouna have been abducted or reported missing since 2014.

Authorities of the country’s Government of National Accord say that they discovered at least 26 mass graves in Tarhouna between June and mid-November, containing the remains of over a hundred unidentified men, women, and children.

“We thank the ICC, the United Nations, and national authorities for cooperating in sending an investigative team to inspect and investigate these mass graves. We support continued efforts to investigate and exhume these mass graves, and to collect and preserve evidence for use in future prosecutions and other potential Council actions,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis.

While there are current humanitarian concerns in Libya, DeLaurentis also emphasized the importance of serving justice to those responsible for past atrocities, such as those committed during the authoritarian regime of Muammar Gaddafi

“The perpetrators of serious human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity must not be allowed to continue to inflict misery, violence, and turmoil,” he said.

The ambassador asserted that Libyan armed groups and security forces on all sides of the region’s conflicts face accusations of human rights abuses.

“The United States has nominated Mohammed al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia to the 1970 

Libya Sanctions Committee for gross human rights abuses including disappearances, torture, and killings,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis, explaining that the discovery of mass graves in Tarhouna is evidence of their crimes and that holding them accountable would send a strong message condemning human rights violations.

United States Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis asserted that the training and funding of armed groups as well as military intervention from foreign actors and mercenaries must cease immediately in order to ensure the future peace, security, and stability of Libya.

As the International Criminal Court and other international organizations investigate the reports and accusations coming out of Libya, the future prosperity of the nation relies on human rights oppressors being exposed and held accountable for their wrongdoings.

The unjust killings, attacks, and abuses that have already occurred cannot be undone, but shedding light on them and serving justice to those responsible for these heinous actions is an integral part of deterring future atrocities and promoting a brighter future for Libya.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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