Today, 10 January 2022, Adala for all (AFA) and the Libyan platform for Human Rights called on the Government of National Unity to respect the right to freedom of association and to abide by international standards on the matter. This is in the wake of the Government of National Unity’s administrative decision of the adoption of regulations on the Civil Society Commission’s work.
According to the statement of which Libya-al-mostakbal has received a copy, Adala for all (AFA) and the Libyan platform for Human Rights submitted an appeal against the invalidity of the decision, inter alia, based on breach of the law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Following is the text of the statement:
Adala for all (AFA) appeals against the regulations on the Civil Society Commission’s work, calling upon all Libyan authorities to abide by international standards of freedom of association.
Adala for All (AFA), in cooperation with the Libyan platform for Human Rights, filed an appeal against the Government of National Unity’s administrative decision No. 286 of 2019 by the Presidential Council. It is the decision of the adoption of regulations on the Civil Society Commission’s work. The appeal was filed before the Second Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Tripoli Court of Appeal, No. 293 of 2021.
Last September 27, the Court heard the appeal and deferred its decision until tomorrow, Monday, October 4, at the request of the Case Management, to further examine the grounds for the appeal and prepare its response.
The appeal cited the following grounds:
- The decision’s breaching of the law: The decision, which was allegedly issued to regulate the Civil Society Commission’s work as a State facility, did not contain rules and working procedures for the Civil Society Commission. Instead, the decision aimed to deter the exercise of the right to freedom of association. A measure that contravenes Article 15 of the Constitutional Declaration of 2011, which provided for regulating the right to freedom of association by an Act of the Legislature, rendering the decision unlawful under the Supreme Court rulings.
- The decision’s breaching of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: The above regulation contains many restrictions that would prevent the exercise of the right to freedom of association, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It runs contrary to the interpretations of the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of association. Decision 286, thereby, is inconsistent with Libya’s International Human Rights obligations.
It should be noted that meanwhile, the appeal applicants were seeking to eliminate the unjust regulation of 286, the Government of National Unity announced the preparation of a new Civil Society repressive regulation that took everyone by surprise. This approach represents a vivid continuation of the policies of the encroachment by the Executive branch on the Legislative functions.
Access to the proposal of the new regulation, the content of which does not differ from its predecessor, reveals that the Government continues to follow the previous Governments’ approach in ignoring the Civil Society’s demands for a law regulating associations and NGOs, that is inconsistent with the international standards of freedom of association.
Note that the Civil Society not only demanded the law, but also engaged in preparing several draft laws and sought to introduce them before in the House of Representatives, but received no response. The Libyan platform for Human Rights has drafted, recently, a new law on associations and is preparing for its admission for debate by the House of Representatives.
Ultimately, the Adala for all (AFA) calls upon all Libyan authorities to abide by international standards of the right to freedom of association and to eliminate administrative decisions and regulations that impede civil society’s work and breach Libya’s international obligations.
Adala for all requests the Executive Branch to provide the Civil Society Commission cadres with training in the treatment of associations as independent entities, rather than as commission affiliates or staff. The House of Representatives is called upon urgently and seriously to admit the Libyan platform for Human Rights’ draft law for discussion.
- As part of its coordination of the activities of the Libyan platform for Human Rights, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies contributed to preparing the appeal.
- By analogy with the decisions of the Libyan Supreme Court, concerning the administrative appeal 37/39 of December 1991 and No. 163/49 of November 2005. The first one says: “The jurisprudence has been that administrative work does not lose its administrative status and is non-existent unless it is seriously violated, even though the decision is flawed by a fundamental defect that would make it a material act, such as the executive undertaking an act within the jurisdiction of the legislature or the judiciary.” The second confirmed that: “If the administrative decision is defective or a lack of jurisdiction, it is non-existent because of a similar serious defect and, in this case, proceedings are not subject to a certain time limit.”
- The Special Rapporteur’s report on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, Maina Kiai, p. 15, para. 60.62, and c. 18, para. 75 and 76.
- Per the new regulation, the management governing the work of individual civil society shall have the right to accept or refuse registration, article 80 regarding foreign organizations, and article 85 regarding domestic organizations, and approval to open a bank account to the Assembly, as well as the possibility of closing or freezing it. Under article 68, associations are also obliged to obtain prior authorization from the governing body before contacting United Nations offices, under article 66, or accepting any voluntary contributions to article 61.