The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2020/487) issued on 03 June 2020.

Chronic underreporting of conflict-related sexual violence during 2019 was linked to a fear of reprisals, stigma and entrenched gender-based discrimination, in an overall context of volatility. The military offensive on Tripoli by forces under the control of the Commander of the Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar, exacerbated instability and restricted monitoring and reporting. As a result of severely limited access to detention facilities, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) verified only seven cases in 2019, affecting four women, two girls and one male activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex rights. In the Mitiga detention facility, controlled by the Special Deterrence Force, under the Ministry of Interior, female inmates are denied due process and unable to challenge the legality of their detention. Four female detainees were subjected to rape and forced nudity, and the activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex rights was reportedly gang raped, by Special Deterrence Force guards. UNSMIL also documented patterns of sexual violence, sexual exploitation, extortion and trafficking of refugees and migrants in Zawiyah, Tajura’, Gharyan, Tariq al Sikkah and Khums detention centres, some of which are linked with the Department for Combating Illegal Migration. Some migrant women and girls are at high risk of being sold for forced labour or sexual exploitation to transnational criminal networks, some with links to armed groups. In Tariq al-Sikkah, two girls were subjected to public beatings and sexual abuse.

The United Nations has urged the Government to launch an investigation in order to locate people who have gone missing from detention centres and may have fallen victim to human trafficking. The Free Legal Aid Coalition for Conflict-Related Survivors in Libya, established by civil society with UNSMIL support, has conducted prison visits, provided legal advice to survivors of sexual violence and advocated the adoption of legislation to enhance protection. The routes to the Libyan coasts, as departure points for Europe, continue to be havens for illegal smugglers and transnational criminal networks.

Recommendation

I urge the authorities to grant humanitarian access to detention facilities and to put in place measures to protect and assist detainees who have suffered, or are at risk of, sexual violence. I also urge the Government to adopt anti-trafficking legislation and, with the support of the United Nations, strengthen its rule of law institutions to ensure that allegations of sexual violence can be effectively investigated and prosecuted.

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