UN Human Rights Council 43rd Session – Item 10: ID on HC report on Libya – 17 June 2020 – Intervention by ESTONIA

Madame President,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We thank the High Commissioner for her important update on the situation in Libya.

Unfortunately, in Libya, both the reports by the United Nation’s Secretary General and by the High Commissioner for Human Rights paint a grim picture of the situation on the ground.  We are disappointed to see that the fighting and military escalations continue despite the promises made by both sides of the conflict to respect the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inter alia, we are worried about recent news about Russia expanding its military presence in Libya.

The growing number of attacks is causing more civilian casualties, as well as damaging and destroying civilian infrastructure, such as healthcare facilities and schools. What is horrifying is that children are dying in the cross-fire of this armed conflict through unexploded explosive ordnances, mortars, airstrikes and others. Under international humanitarian law, it is the responsibility of both conflict parties to protect civilians and not direct attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure.

In the face of continuous armed conflict, women are disproportionately affected and especially vulnerable to poverty, discrimination and violence. Women in Libya suffer from reprisals, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, prolonged arbitrary detention, torture and intimidation. The situation is even worse for migrant women and girls.

Estonia joins the UNSMIL/OHCHR call for the Government of National Accord to fully fund and implement the action plan on Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This is necessary to protect women and girls from violence in law, policy and practice. We stress that UNSMIL/OHCHR must have unrestricted access to monitor the human rights situation in Libya.

Finally, we recall Security Council resolution 2510 and demand that all parties to the conflict comply with their obligations under international law. All violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, need to be addressed and the perpetrators must be held accountable.


Madame High Commissioner,

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the work of OHCHR in Libya?

Thank you!