Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

PHR Calls for Immediate Deployment of Human Rights Observers and Humanitarian Experts to Libya

Cambridge, Mass. - 08/22/2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calls on the United Nations to initiate the immediate deployment of a team of human rights observers and humanitarian experts to Libya to prevent any possible human rights violations and to ease the transition to a civilian government.

As reports indicate the imminent end of the Qaddafi regime, PHR calls for the deployment of human rights monitors to ensure that the transition phase led by the Transitional National Council (TNC) will be based on the rule of law and the strengthening of Libyan civil society at large. In order to prevent any retaliatory violence or wide-spread looting in the immediate aftermath of the cessation of active fighting in Libya, and to preserve all evidence to hold all perpetrators accountable for human rights violations, an international monitoring presence is urgently needed. To prevent Libya from descending into a general state of lawlessness and violence similar to Afghanistan or Iraq, international experts could help strengthen civilian government institutions. International observers should also ensure the protection of medical neutrality, including the safeguarding of medical professionals, facilities, transport, and supplies. This emerging government must provide basic services to all Libyan people, establish clear legal procedures under which individuals on both sides are held accountable for human rights violations and crimes, and create a screening process which fairly determines if an individual can be part of any future Libyan government or security structure. Support from international observers is essential, especially given Libya’s lack of strong civilian government institutions.

“It is incumbent on the international community to provide independent human rights monitors and humanitarian experts to ensure the successful transition of Libya into a post-Qaddafi era,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of PHR. “The prevention of any retaliatory violence in the aftermath of any surrender of Qaddafi forces is an urgent concern, but we must also ensure that the mid- and long-term transition to a civilian government will be successful and unmarred by violence and lawlessness.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

PHR News