By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 August 2020:
UNSMIL today called for an immediate investigation into yesterday’s alleged shootings by pro Tripoli government forces at protesters that resulted in several injuries. The Tripoli Interior Ministry has acknowledged the incident.
The reported shooting happened after peaceful demonstrations took place in several western Libyan cities, including Tripoli, Misrata and Zawia, against miserable living conditions. No demonstrations were reported in eastern Libya.
These miserable living conditions include regular and lengthy electricity and water cuts, cash and fuel shortages, a spiralling Coronavirus and falling value in the Libyan dinar. The demonstrations were called for weeks ago and were organized by the ‘‘Harak 23/8’’ (23rd August Movement).
In its statement, UNSMIL said that ‘‘The rights to peaceful assembly, protest and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights and fall within Libya’s obligations under international human rights law. UNSMIL calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force by pro-GNA security personnel in Tripoli yesterday which resulted in the injury of a number of protesters.
These demonstrations were motivated by frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water and a lack of service provision throughout the country.
Given the continuing immiseration (economic impoverishment) of the Libyan people and the ever-present threat of renewed conflict, it is past time for Libyan leaders to put aside their differences and engage in a fully inclusive political dialogue as outlined by GNA President Sarraj and House of Representatives Speaker Saleh in their declarations last week’’.
The Tripoli Interior Ministry, meanwhile, has said that it has identified the perpetrators and will investigate and report its results to the public.