1. The Committee considered
the second periodic report of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (CCPR/C/28/Add.16)
at its 1275th, 1276th, 1376th and 1377th meetings on 26 October 1993
and 28 October 1994 and adopted at its 1384th meeting (fifty-second
session), held on 3 November 1994 the following comments:
2. The Committee welcomes
the opportunity to renew its dialogue with the State party after fifteen
years have elapsed between the consideration of the Government's initial
report and the submission of its second periodic report. The Committee,
however, regrets this considerable delay in the submission of its
second periodic report. The Committee regrets also that the reporting
guidelines have not been met. The report does not give sufficient
information about the restrictions or limitations imposed on rights
or about factors and difficulties affecting the enjoyment of rights
and the implementation of the Covenant in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
In addition, the report lacks information about abuses affecting human
rights in the country which have been acknowledged even by the Head
of State; and also about administrative and other measures adopted
to give effect to the rights provided for in the Covenant.
3. The Committee welcomes
the additional written information provided by the Libyan authorities
to reply to the questions raised by the members of the Committee during
the first part of the consideration of the report in October 1993,
while regretting that the late submission of that information did
not make it possible to have the document available in all the working
languages of the Committee. The Committee takes note with satisfaction
of the efforts made by the Libyan Government to reply to its questions
and to clarify certain issues, both in writing and orally through
the Government's representatives. Those efforts clearly indicate the
willingness of the Government to continue the dialogue with the Committee.
B. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the
4. Among the factors affecting
the implementation of the Covenant, the Committee notes economic difficulties
and the existence of extremist movements. The Committee also notes
that the embargo on air travel, imposed by the Security Council on
the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since April 1992, is considered by the
Libyan Government as a difficulty affecting the implementation of
certain provisions of the Covenant.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee notes
with satisfaction that the Covenant is part of the domestic law of
the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and that certain aspects of the Covenant
have been included in the Great Green Charter of Human Rights of the
Jamahiriyan Era (1988), in the Promotion of Freedom Act of 1991 and
in the draft Constitution. It welcomes the fact that the Covenant
has been published in the Official Bulletin and publicised in the
media, while noting that the information provided to the Committee
was not sufficient to clarify the precise application of the Covenant
provisions or of the practical steps open to people to enforce rights
or to obtain remedies in case of violation.
6. The Committee also
notes with satisfaction the measures taken in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
to overcome discriminatory attitudes against women and the initiatives
introduced in the country to advance women's rights, to ensure their
greater involvement in public life, and to improve women's equality
in employment and in marriage.
7. The Committee further
welcomes the information in the report about the release of certain
political and other prisoners, the demolition of certain prisons,
the cancellation of the lists of persons banned from travelling, and
the proposed abolition of the special courts.
D. Principal subjects of concern
8. The Committee is seriously
concerned that although the report mentions the objective of eliminating
the death penalty, a large number of offences remain punishable by
the death penalty in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including economic
crimes and other crimes which appear to go beyond the limitations
of article 6(2) of the Covenant. The Committee deplores that there
appears to be an increase in the number of executions in the last
9. The Committee is seriously
concerned at information it has received from United Nations and other
reliable sources concerning summary or extra-judicial execution and
torture perpetrated by the Libyan security forces. It deplores the
introduction of cruel punishments such as flogging and amputation.
The practice of arbitrary arrest and detention, the detention of persons
sentenced after unfair trials and the length of pre-trial detention
are also matters of serious concern. The Committee regrets the lack
of information about certain identified people who are said to be
held in incommunicado detention without trial for lengthy periods
and of persons who oppose the government and are said to have disappeared.
10. The Committee is also
concerned at certain restrictions imposed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
to the rights of opinion, the freedom of expression, the right of
assembly and the right to freedom of association, which are not in
conformity with articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant. These restrictions
also unduly limit the rights to participate in the conduct of public
affairs, including the opportunities to criticise and to oppose the
11. Lack of information
makes it difficult for the Committee to assess the effectiveness in
practice of safeguards protecting the rights of detainees and of those
charged with criminal offences. The lack of independence of the legal
profession and doubts about the openness and fairness of trial procedures
remain concerns of the Committee.
12. In regard to women
the Committee remains concerned about their lack of equality in certain
areas of law such as inheritance rights and nationality. It also regrets
the lack of specific information concerning the equality of women.
13. Another area of concern
is that of freedom of religion. The severe punishments for heresy
(which are said not to have been used) and the restrictions on the
right to change religion appear to be inconsistent with article 18
of the Covenant. The lack of provision for conscientious objection
to military service is another concern.
14. A general concern
of the Committee is that in regard to many of the rights under the
Covenant the basic law allows for broadly defined exceptions to these
rights and no information has been provided as to the way in which
those exceptions have been incorporated in specific laws or as to
wether their application is in conformity with the Covenant .
E. Suggestions and recommendations
15. The Committee encourages
the State party to take the necessary steps to adopt legislative or
other measures to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant,
as provided for by article 2, paragraph 2 of the treaty. The Committee
emphasizes that these rights represent minimum standards of universal
application. This will require a detailed examination of specific
laws and practices to ensure that they are fully consistent with the
Covenant and do not impose limitations on rights other than those
permitted by the Covenant.
16. Noting the statement
in the report that the objective of Jamahiri society is to abolish
the death penalty, the Committee encourages the State party to move
forward with its plans to abolish the death penalty so that it may
adhere to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
17. The Committee calls
on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to investigate all allegations of summary
or extra-judicial execution, disappearances, torture and incommunicado
detention, including those referred to by the Committee and to ensure
that those responsible for violations of articles 6, 7 and 9 of the
Covenant are prosecuted and that appropriate remedies are provided
to the victims. It should implement effective measures to prevent
further violations of those provisions of the Covenant, to ensure
that the rights of detainees are respected and that the requirements
of fair trial are met.
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party reviews its laws which impose limitations of
freedom of opinion, expression, association and assembly, to ensure
that the restrictions on those freedoms conform to the limits permitted
under article 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant.
19. The Committee urges
the State party to continue with its programmes to secure full legal
and de facto equality for women in all aspects of society. It should
also ensure that its obligations to respect freedom of religion in
accordance with article 18 of the Covenant are met. In this connection,
the Committee draws attention to its general comment on article 18
of the Covenant.
20. The Committee finally
recommends that more detailed information about specific laws and
more concrete and factual information about the enjoyment of rights
be provided by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in its next periodic report
so as to enable the Committee to clearly understand the progress made
in the implementation of the Covenant in the State party.
21. The Committee urges
the State party to discharge, in future, its reporting obligations
under article 40 of the Covenant in a more timely basis.