In a country where speaking out has historically meant being arrested or worse, human rights leaders are finding their voice and learning to advocate for protection against human right abuses. Led by two technical experts from the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, 29 Libyan lawyers, judges, young professionals, and grantees met in October 2011 to discuss tactics for identifying and reporting human rights abuses, seeking justice for those abuses, and advocating for human right protections. For many, the workshop provided new insight and new exposure to the topic of human rights.
Participants are coming to recognize the core principles of human rights and are putting their knowledge into action. One participant reported starting a human rights dialog at a local Tripoli coffee shop while a group of 10 individuals have formed an advocacy and watchdog group and are beginning to utilize their skills for monitoring and reporting. The group has requested additional assistance to build a larger coalition of human rights monitors.
The five-day workshop was co-sponsored by the Libya Transition Initiative (LTI) project, a partnership between USAID and Chemonics. The goal of the LTI project is to support locally led efforts to promote national unity and the transition to inclusive democracy. Exercises like this human rights workshop are part of LTI’s larger goal to provide targeted transition assistance in supporting emerging civil society organizations, strengthening local and independent media outlets, and supporting interim governing authorities.