Libya is not ready to hold free and fair elections, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned.
The country’s rival authorities are planning to hold parliamentary and presidential elections later this year, but no date has been set. The United Nations and the European Union support the upcoming vote.
But HRW worries “voters, candidates, and political parties” are at risk of “coercion, discrimination, and intimidation” if the ballot goes ahead.
“Libya today couldn’t be further away from respect for the rule of law and human rights, let alone from acceptable conditions for free elections,” Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
HRW says free speech, rule of law, assembly and a “functioning judiciary that is able to deal fairly and promptly with disputes concerning the elections” must be respected.
But armed groups continue to threaten, intimidate, and attack judicial figures and officials, HRW says.
It also points out that the “legal framework for an election remains opaque”, and has urged the elections commission to conduct “transparent audits of its voter register to rule out any inaccuracies”.
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