on behalf of the Libya Platform coalition, Justice for All (AFA) files an appeal administrative complaint against decree 286 suppressing freedom of Association (FOA)

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AFA  submitted an administrative complaint[1]  on behalf of the LP to nullify the executive decision no.286 issued in 2019 by the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, entitled “regulation framework of the Civil Society Commission”.

On August 2021, AFA and LP submitted the complaint, no.293- 2021, to the second Administrative Judicial Department of the Tripoli administrative Court. On September 27, the court considered the appeal and decided to postpone the issuance of its decision until tomorrow, October 4, to review the reasons for the request and prepare a response to it.

Based on the following reasons, the complaint requests to nullify the administrative decision 286:

  1. The decision violated the law: “It did not include the rules and procedures for the work of the administrative body”, that is Civil Society Commission, which was allegedly issued to regulate. Instead, the decision suppressed the freedom of the Association through a restrictive executive decision. This act violates article 15 of the Constitutional Declaration published in 2011, which guarantees that FOA should be regulated by a law issued by the legislative authority, which renders the decision illegitimate based on Libyan supreme court jurisprudence[2].
  2. The decision suppresses the rights of civil society to exist and operate freely granted by the art 22 of ICCPR and its interpretation by the human rights committee and UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association[3]. Libya ratified ICCPR in 1970 and was obligated to ensure that any national regulation must be coherent with the international obligations.

Despite contestation from local and international civil society organizations (CSOs) against decision 286, the Libyan unity government announced on July 31, 2021, its intention to issue an authoritarian regulation to organize civil society, which is a continuation of the policy of the executive authority’s overriding the competence of the legislative power.

The proposed new repressive[4] regulation draft not only re-integrates all restrictions exiting in the decisions 286 but adds a further limitation related to prohibiting international between local CSOs and the international community, including the UN bodies, without prior authorization. This behaviour from the executive power reveals a continuation of the same path as previous governments, which ignored multiple demands from CSOs for law regulating associations in line with international standards related to FOA.

In September 2021, LP proposed a new draft law for associations, in line with ICCPR, to the House of Representatives and mobilized local CSOs to support this draft bill massively.

Finally, AFA and LP call on all Libyan authorities to abide by international standards related to FOA and get rid of administrative decisions and regulations that obstruct the work of civil society and contravene Libya’s international obligations. We call on the House of Representatives to quickly and thoughtfully interact with the draft law submitted by the Libya Platform coalition.

Furthermore, we request the executive authority to train the civil society commission’s cadres to deal with associations as independent entities and not as affiliates of the commission or its employees.

Tripoli, Libya

October 3, 2021

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[1] The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, as part of its coordination of the activities of the Libya Platform coalition, contributed to the preparation of the legal complaint.

[2] In this regard, the two rulings of the Libyan Supreme Court can be referenced:  administrative appeal no. 37/39, issued in December 1991, and administrative appeal no. 163/49, issued in November 2005. The first ruling in 1991 stated, “Jurisprudence is since administrative work does not lose its administrative capacity, nor becomes non-existent, unless tarnished by a serious violation. That is if the decision is fundamentally flawed, rendering it a material act, if the executive authority were to undertake an act under the competence of the legislature or the judiciary.” Meanwhile, the second ruling in 2005 asserted, “If the administrative decision is tainted by a lack of jurisdiction, then it is non-existent due to its grave defect, and filing a lawsuit under these circumstances is not limited to a specific date.”

[3] Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association, Maina Kiai, pp. 15, para. 60-62, and pp. 18, para. 75 and 76.

[4] Among restrictions: All associations operating in Libya are required to re-register in accordance with the regulation’s provisions, Article 80 relating to foreign organizations, and Article 85 relating to domestic organizations.  The organizing administration regulating civil society has the right to accept or reject registration, Article 58. The opening of a bank account for the association could be rejected unilaterally by the executive, Article 68., The regulation also obliges associations to obtain prior authorization from the administration regulating civil society before communicating with United Nations offices, Article 66 or accepting any donation

 

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