Press briefing notes on Libya

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 19 November 2013

We are deeply concerned by violent incidents which started last Friday (15 November) in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and have left more than 40 people dead and hundreds others injured. These are the bloodiest incidents Tripoli has seen since the end of the 2011 conflict.

We condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators, who were shot at while protesting against the presence in Tripoli of armed brigades from Misrata following earlier bouts of fighting last week. This appears to have triggered the armed clashes which have followed.

Almost all the deaths occurred on 15 November, although there were further fatalities reported in the following days. UNSMIL (the UN Support Mission in Libya) monitors visiting hospitals the next day received confirmation from medical staff of 40 deaths, although the numbers were expected to rise.

Noting with concern that several individuals are reported to have been taken prisoner by armed brigades during these clashes, we reiterate that detainees must be released without delay or transferred to the judiciary for criminal investigation. They must be treated humanely, with dignity, and afforded all judicial guarantees under international law.

We call upon the Libyan authorities to launch a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the violent incidents and to ensure that those found responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses are brought to justice.

We urge all sides to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid the escalation of violence and engage in peaceful dialogue and we call upon the Government of Libya to renew its efforts in meeting its obligations under international human rights law, specifically with respect to protecting the right to life and the right of all Libyans to protest peacefully and express their views freely.


For further information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or + 41 79 506 1088 /, Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / or C├ęcile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 or +41 79 618 3430 / )

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