Libya - March 2023
Authorities impose severe restrictions on civil society
The Office of the Prime Minister for the Government of National Unity (GNU) and other Libyan authorities issued a series of decrees in March 2023 revoking the legal status of all local and international NGOs in the country established after 2011. The GNU is now requiring civil society organizations to establish their legal status under Law 19 of 2001, adopted during the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. That law requires all NGOs to have government approval and only permits groups that work with charity, sports, humanitarian and social issues.
The decrees follow months of intensified crackdown on civil society with incidents of intimidation, detention and withholding entry visas for aid organizations. With potential Libyan elections in 2023, concerns have been raised that the decree effectively criminalizes independent election monitoring. Several national and international rights groups have condemned the move, calling on authorities to guarantee freedom for civic groups to operate. The GNU has granted temporary legality to local and international NGOs to continue working until they comply with Law 19.