Strengthening Libyan Justice Sector Capacity to Apply International Human Rights and Due Processf Standards
While detention is an issue of concern throughout the region, political upheaval in Libya and the challenging security situation threaten basic criminal justice sector processes and impede reform efforts. Since 2017, with the support of the U.S. Department of State, ABA ROLI continues to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary, prosecutors, public lawyers, and other lawyers throughout Libya to apply international human rights law and best practices focused on fair trial standards, pre-trial detention, and criminal defense.
Activities also increase Libyan legal sector and civil society capacity to advocate for, plan, and implement key reforms to improve legislation, practices, and procedures that guarantee due process and human rights for detainees, including migrants and asylum seekers. In addition, ABA ROLI has closely cooperated with the Ministry of Justice to contribute to the development of a transitional justice framework; and with CSOs to advocate for victim-centered, locally-driven transitional justice measures.
Supporting Libya’s Transition
In 2020, ABA ROLI began implementing a program, with support from USAID, centered on countering corrosive influences, specifically hate speech and disinformation (HSD), in Libya’s political transition. In coordination with Libyan civil society, justice sector members, and media actors, ABA ROLI assists local actors in countering these malign influences by increasing public awareness of HSD, and by developing and implementing strategies that combat HSD but also, and crucially, respect freedom of expression. Through this program, ABA ROLI has: conducted research to inform evidence-based policies on HSD; supported media campaigns against HSD, implementation of youth digital literacy initiatives, and the administration of civil society training related to establishing campaigns for media accountability against HSD; facilitated fact-checking and HSD monitoring; and engaged parliament and legal sector actors in considering the development of a legal framework to counter HSD.
Delivering Justice to GBV Survivors
In September 2020, ABA ROLI launched a program to promote justice for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors in Libya, funded by the U.S. Department of State. In collaboration with Libyan civil society and institutional partners—specifically, the LBA, the YLA, and the MOJ— ABA ROLI efforts focus on GBV awareness-raising, helping GBV survivors better understand their legal rights, and enhancing their access to victim-centered legal counseling. Notably within the framework of the program is the establishment of mobile legal teams operated by community-based CSOs. These legal teams will travel throughout Libya to raise awareness and provide one-on-one consultations to GBV survivors and persons at-risk. The program also features training of judicial actors on international legal standards and Libyan laws pertaining to GBV, public legal awareness techniques, and trauma-informed legal counselling techniques. ABA ROLI will also facilitate a national awareness campaign on GBV. Materials range from creating posters to remind bystanders to speak out against GBV, animated videos to change cultural attitudes towards GBV survivors, talk shows about women’s rights, and social media campaigns encouraging survivors to seek assistance and guidance on steps to do so.
Countering Discrimination and Disinformation During COVID-19 in Libya
From August 2020 to March 2021, with funding from the U.S Department of State, ABA ROLI initiated a program to introduce a human-rights based approach to countering discrimination and hate speech and disinformation (HSD) resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya. ABA ROLI supported efforts to strengthen Libyan civil society to identify, monitor, and address COVID-related HSD as it pertains to the pandemic’s impact on Libya’s most vulnerable populations— specifically, migrants and asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, women, ethnic and linguistic minorities, and stateless people. ABA ROLI facilitated training focused on state obligations in the fight against COVID-19 for community liaisons, youth community liaisons, and CSO partners. The program also improved CSO partners’ capacity to design and implement national campaigns against HSD, including establishing a Facebook page to circulate accurate information on COVID-19, radio programming, and the dissemination of materials detailing reliable public health information on the pandemic and vaccines.
ILAC Libya: Libya Continuation of MENA Program
- Building upon lessons learned from its partnership under the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), funded by the Swedish International Cooperation Agency, ABA ROLI partnered with community-led Libyan CSOs and justice sector actors to implement programming that fosters local ownership and promotes human rights, gender equality and transitional justice. This was accomplished through targeted training of judicial sector actors in the application of international human rights in Libya, as well as community dialogues and radio programs to raise public awareness of priority rights issues.