UN Libya rights probe postponed due to cashflow problems

UN Libya human rights mission postponed due to lack of funding
2 min read
The UN has postponed an inquiry into human rights violations in war-torn Libya until next year due to a severe lack of funding.
The UN has postponed its investigation into the discovery of mass graves in Libya [Getty]

The United Nations does not have enough funds to investigate rights violations in strife-torn Libya this year, the Human Rights Council decided on Tuesday.

In June, the UN's top rights body, with the support of Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), adopted a resolution calling for a fact-finding mission to be sent to the north African country to document abuses committed there by all parties since 2016.

These experts, appointed in August by the UN, were to present a report on their findings in March 2021.

But the UN is currently going through a serious liquidity crisis because many countries have not paid their annual dues, and it is therefore unable to fulfil all its mandates.

The Human Rights Council adopted on Tuesday without a vote a resolution to postpone the implementation of more than a dozen prior resolutions, including that on Libya, until 2021.

Read also: What does Fayez al-Sarraj's resignation mean for Libya?

"There are mandates that could not be carried out in full ... because they had not received the sufficient funds, mostly for staffing needs," rights council spokesman Rolando Gomez told AFP.

Investigators will now have more time -- until September 2021 -- to submit their reports, in the hope that in the meantime, the UN finds the money to fund their mandates.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since rogue General Khalifa Haftar’s forces launched an operation against rival militias in the eastern city of Benghazi in 2014. Multiple armed groups and power centres are vying for control, while human rights violations are often overlooked.

The two main factions are based around the GNA in Tripoli and an unrecognised administration allied with Haftar in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive on Tripoli in April 2019.

In June, the UN expressed its "horror" after reports of the discovery of mass graves in a region which fell to pro-government forces.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, co-chaired a meeting on Libya attended by foreign ministers, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Participants welcomed the establishment of the fact-finding mission and committed to support its work and its investigation team.

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