Reports 03/04/2023

The human rights impact of the management of the covid-19 crisis in Libya

This report is part of a series of three reports resulting from participatory assessments of the human rights situation in crisis contexts conducted in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya between 2021 and 2022.

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This participatory diagnosis aims to assess the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent political crisis after July 25 on socioeconomic rights and civil and political freedoms. It is an inventory of human rights violations based on testimonies and data provided by members of civil society and the victims who have suffered these violations.

The conclusion of the three reports is that the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed states to increase their control over the population, thereby increasing violations of civil and political rights.

The global trend towards more authoritarian forms of governance is evident in the North African region, making the work of defending and promoting human rights even more necessary today. However, the strategies in this regard are specific and vary depending on the country and region in which we want to intervene.

The diagnoses were carried out by different teams of specialists in each of the countries, following a methodology that involved participatory consultations with key individuals from civil society, institutions, and human rights defenders. This qualitative process of data collection was supplemented by a review of reports, statements, articles, and other relevant literature or sources.

Each diagnosis encountered different conditions in aspects such as geographical coverage, central study themes, gender representation, or methods used for conducting interviews. In total, more than 100 interviews were conducted, with the participation of 40 women—although female representation in the Libya diagnosis was very low.

The process of diagnosing and formulating recommendations in each report was based on the principle of collective intelligence and participatory deliberation tools (consultation and consensus), ensuring that all participants had an equal voice in interviews and, most importantly, protecting the identity of interviewees.

These reports are part of the WAHDA project – “unity” in Arabic – which focuses on promoting the active role of Tunisian civil society as a guarantee of the defense of civil and political rights and the promotion of social cohesion. Both dimensions are considered essential for advancing the country’s political transition and even regional stability. This proposal received funding from the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation and was reinforced by the work carried out by the IMCAN project – “providing opportunities” in colloquial Arabic – funded by the Barcelona City Council. The IMCAN project seeks to promote the guarantee of the exercise of human rights through the reinforcement of human rights defenders.

Both projects, led by NOVACT, actively involved the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LTDH), and in the case of WAHDA, the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona (FSUB) and the University of Carthage were also involved. Other organizations from the region, such as the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), were also engaged in these projects