Libyan Rights Group: UAE committing Human Rights Violations in Libya
A Libyan human rights group have accused the UAE of committing war crimes in the country, which has involved the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians killed in air strike raids.
Findings were presented at a conference on the sidelines of a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday where a Libyan witness spoke of extrajudicial killings, and the forced hunger and displacement that families experienced under the rule of General Hafter in Derna and Ganfouda, provinces in eastern Libya.
General Hafta leads the self-styled Libyan National Army and as is backed by the UAE and Egypt. The renegade general does not recognise the authority of the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and instead supports a Tobruk-based administration originally set up in the east of the country.
At the UN meeting on Tuesday, the head of a group of family survivors, Abdulghani Aljatlaw also alleged that in 2014 the UAE had carried out air strikes in Tripoli, whilst the president of Human Rights Solidarity, Giumma El-Omami, said that a UN commission set up by the Security Council found evidence that UAE and Egyptian air strikes had led to loss of life.
In June of this year, a UN report accused the UAE of violating the UN arms embargo by supplying military aircraft to General Hafta, whose army have been repeatedly accused of committing war crimes in recent years.
These allegations come in the same week that Amnesty International revealed that the UAE had been violating the UN arms embargo on South Sudan. The Amnesty report detailed that the UAE, along with Ukraine, had been in the process of procuring £125m of weaponry on behalf of the South Sudanese government, in direct contravention to the Arms Trade Treaty to which both countries are signatories.
Documents obtained by Amnesty found that the two countries had been taking advantage of “glaring gaps in UK company regulation” by using UK based shell companies as key intermediaries for illicit arms deals to South Sudan. The report specifically referenced a deal brokered in 2014 in which UK shell company 'S-Profit Ltd' was used a “supplier” in a deal to export £34m of weaponry to the UN arms embargoed South Sudanese government.
Amnesty claim that the British government have been fully aware of these activities but have so far done nothing to address them or close the regulatory gaps that allow them to take place.
As international attention focuses on Emirati war crimes abroad, it is important to remember that within their own borders, the UAE authorities are serial violators of international human rights legislation. In recent years, Amnesty International have documented dozens of cases involving enforced disappearances and torture, as well as reporting on heavy restrictions concerning freedom of speech and assembly. It is crucial that governments around the world take note of this, and exert pressure on the Emirati authorities to abide by international law both at home, and abroad.