Independent UN human rights experts said on Friday that the continued recruitment and presence of mercenaries in Libya is impeding “progress in the peace process” and an obstacle to upcoming elections, calling for their “long overdue” departure.
The Head of the UN’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Jelena Aparac, nine months after the ceasefire agreement calling for withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, mercenaries and private military and security contractors continue to operate in the country.
"Some of the highly armed and well-trained private contractors operating in the country, hailing from Russia, Syria, Sudan and Chad, meet the criteria for mercenaries." According to the Working Group, which added that in addition to the dangers they pose within Libya, they could also threaten the security and stability of other nations in the region.
The UN experts stressed that these mercenary and mercenary-related actors must leave immediately, and that there must be an immediate end to the transfer of military weapons and supplies into Libya.
The independent experts stressed that the removal of all mercenaries is a vital precondition to peaceful elections.
“If elections are to be held in December 2021 as scheduled, Libyans should be able to undertake that process in a safe and secure environment, and the presence of these actors impedes that." Said Aparac.