© Photo: PIN archive

Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2014, Libya has found itself with a melange of competing governments fighting to take power, dozens of militias, and even more political interests. Violent clashes occur frequently across the country. Despite the ceasefire agreement announced in 2020, Libya failed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2021. The lack of elections destabilised the country and left it without a legitimate governing body, approved constitution, laws, or stable institutions.

The internationally recognised Government of National Unity based in Tripoli cannot guarantee the people's safety or essential services. Libyans struggle to withdraw money from banks, the electricity supply is often cut for several days at a time, and access to medical care is limited. Kidnappings take place daily; the motive of these is often ransom or political intrigue.

The past two years in Libya have witnessed a virulent campaign against human rights activists and CSOs. This campaign has deeply affected civil society by eroding trust in NGOs, and this trust needs to be regained. Human rights are being neglected and systematically suppressed. In particular, it concerns independent journalism, free speech, and civil society organisations critical of the government/militias. The rights of minorities—ethnic and sexual—are suppressed, and there are the situations and conditions of migrants in detention centres.

Civil society, including newly created media, which formed during the short period of freedom, now faces dangers from the army, militias, and extremists, ranging from threats to assault to kidnapping. Therefore, facing these problems, we must support Libyan civic initiatives. We help them in their struggle for freedom of speech and of the press, stopping violence against women and migrants. We also empower youth initiatives and emerging grassroots with sub-grants. Through storytelling and social campaigns, we are combating hate-speech and discrimination inside Libyan society. To those who are at imminent risk, we provide protection and security.

We have worked in Egypt and Libya since the Spring of 2011. We assist and support civic and state initiatives calling for vital democratic reforms. Our first projects focused on sharing and discussing specific areas of reform that could draw from the Czech experience with post-revolution transformation and practical support for civil society groups.

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