‘Predatory Behavior’ of Armed Groups Threatens Libya’s Political Process

‘Predatory Behavior’ of Armed Groups Threatens Libya’s Political Process

Friday, 10 August, 2018 - 12:00
The United Nations Security Council. REUTERS/Joe Penney
New York - Ali Barada
A confidential report by a panel of UN experts on Libya has said that “predatory behavior” of armed groups are threatening the country’s political transition.

Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of the executive summary of the report, which expressed concern that different armed groups are attempting to gain legitimacy by ostensibly supporting efforts to combat irregular migration.

The report, which has been sent by the Panel to the members of the Security Council, said: “Over the reporting period, predatory behavior of armed groups posed a direct threat to Libya’s political transition. The use of violence to exert control over Libya’s state institutions might result in a return of armed confrontations in Tripoli.”

“The Libyan Investment Authority, the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya were targets of threats and attacks, impacting on the performance of Libya’s oil and financial sectors.”

“Armed groups are responsible for targeted persecutions and serious human rights violations, which are deepening grievances amongst some categories of the population and ultimately threatening long term peace and stability in Libya,” said the report.

“Most armed groups involved are affiliated either with the Government of National Accord or the Libyan National Army,” it added.

The Panel warned that human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants are substantially benefiting armed groups.

“These activities fuel instability and undermine the formal economy,” it said.

“Criminal networks organize the convoys of migrants and use sexual exploitation to generate significant revenues,” it said, expressing concern about impunity of those systematically violating the human rights of migrants, mainly due to weak law enforcement.

“In this regard, the Committee’s decision to sanction six smugglers of migrants represents a key step forward,” it said.

“The Panel is particularly concerned that different armed groups attempt to gain legitimacy by ostensibly supporting efforts to combat irregular migration and thereby receiving technical and material assistance from foreign actors.”

“This mandate has seen an increase in the use of vessels, mounted with weapons, in both the east and west of the country,” it said.

The Panel has also noted a growing number of armored vehicles and pickup trucks fitted with heavy machineguns, and other weapons in combat theatres, notably in eastern Libya. “These transfers to Libya indicate that all Member States could considerably improve their efforts to implement the arms embargo.”

“Arms and related materiel both from former regime stockpiles and transfers conducted after 2011 continue to fall into the hands of Libyan and foreign armed groups,” the Panel warned.

“The diversion of arms feeds into the increasing insecurity constitutes a continued threat to peace and security in Libya and neighboring countries.”

“Foreign fighters and armed groups, moving in and out of Libya, exploit the proliferation of arms and related material in Libya resulting in regular violations of the arms embargo,” it said.

Since the beginning of the current mandate in August 2017, the Panel documented six attempts by the Eastern National Oil Corporation in Benghazi to illicitly export crude oil. “The illicit exports of refined petroleum products, both by land and sea, continue to be a prosperous activity. The Panel has identified networks operating in different regions and their modi operandi.”

The Panel has analyzed available data and information on the assets of the Libyan Investment Authority, finding two major instances of non-compliance with the assets freeze.

“Panel enquiries have shown varying practices and interpretation in the application of the UN sanctions, which could impact adversely the management and proper custody of the frozen assets.”

The Panel added that it “has concluded that the assets freeze has not adversely affected the Libyan Investment Authority.”

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