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Urgent Interventions

Killing of Ms. Hanan al-Barassi


LBY 001 / 1120 / OBS 125



November 12,2020

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Libya.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources about the killing of Ms. Hanan al-Barassi, a prominentlawyer, women’s rights activist and outspoken critic of the corruption andhuman rights violations conducted by the authorities and their militias inLibya[1], includingthe Libyan National Army (LNA), of which Benghazi is under control, headed byKhalifa Haftar.

According to the informationreceived, on November 11, 2020, Ms. Hanan al-Barassi was shot in broad daylightby a group of unidentified gunmen in Benghazi city centre. The daybefore her killing, Ms. al-Barassi had announced on social media that she wouldrelease information regarding the Haftar family, including incriminatingfootage exposing corruption within the family. Furthermore, Ms. al-Barassi andher daughter had been receiving death threats before she was killed as a resultof Ms. al-Barassi’s human rights activities. The LNA has stated that they havesummoned security chiefs in Benghazi to order an investigation into theassassination.

The Observatory condemns in thestrongest terms the killing of Ms. Hanan al-Barassi and urges the authoritiesin Benghazi to conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparentinvestigation into her murder, to identify all those responsible, bring thembefore an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law.

The Observatory further urges theauthorities of Libya to put an end to the culture of impunity that prevailsin the country and to fully comply with theIndependent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya and UN Member States to grantthe needed support and resources for the investigation.

The Observatory is particularly concerned by the alarming numberof targeted attacks against human rights defenders across Libya, andrecalls that the fatal attack on Ms. al-Barassi is the latest in a long line ofattacks on women human rights defenders in Libya, where any prominent activistswho speak against the authorities and their affiliated militias are instantlytargeted and in danger. These attacks on women human rights defenders andactivists as well as the failure of authorities to conduct effectiveinvestigations into these acts continue to create a hostile and deadly environmentfor those who speak out against human rights violations in Libya.

Actions Requested:

Please write to the authorities ofLibya asking them to;

i. Guarantee in all circumstances, thephysical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defendersin Libya;

ii. Carry out a swift, thorough,transparent, and impartial investigation into the killing of Ms. Hananal-Barassi in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and punish them as provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to all act of harassment,including at the judicial level, against all human rights defenders in Libyaand ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindranceand fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform in all circumstances withthe provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted onDecember 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular itsArticles 1, 6 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respectfor human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with internationalhuman rights instruments ratified by Libya.


· Mr. Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister, Tripoli,Libya, Twitter: @FaiezSerraj

· Mr. Fathi Bashagha,Minister of Interior, Tripoli, Libya, Email:, Twitter: @ FathiAliGov

· Mr. Adel Shaltut, Chief of the PermanentMission of the State of Libya to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.Email:

· Permanent Mission of the State of Libya tothe United Nations in New York, USA. Email:

· Embassy of Libya in Brussels, Belgium. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representationsof Libya in your respective countries.


Geneva-Paris, November 12, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory)was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH.The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations ofrepression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both membersof, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

[1] Ms. al-Barassiwas notably very vocal on cases of alleged assault and sexual violence and rapeagainst women in Benghazi and implicated members of armed groups in the city,as well as on cases of financial fraud within the authorities and the arm

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