CONTENT WARNING: this article makes references to sexual violence, torture, and other details that some readers may find upsetting.
The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organisation founded in 2014 by former GRU officer Dmitry Utkin and businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, and has been described as “one of Russia’s most influential foreign policy tools”. Since its founding, Wagner Group has become known for its readiness to use extreme levels of violence and brutality during its operations.

Daniel R. Mekonnen1


1. Introduction

The European Union (EU) has one of the most dangerous borders in its southern tip, across the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, this maritime border, particularly the Italian Peninsula, has become a mass grave of migrants by reason of tragic boat accidents that took place time and again, often times in distances so close to coastal towns that they could have provided timely interventions of rescue. This issue has caused a great deal of embarrassment on the part of some European institutions, as it is happening partly due to lack of an effective intervention strategy on the part of the EU. This points out that legal security and the provisions that safeguard human rights are in stark contrast to the militarised security of the borders.

The Broken Rifle 98

The popular unarmed uprisings in the Arab World early in 2011 took the world by surprise, both because most observers did not expect demands for human rights and democratic choice to become central in Arab states, and because they did not expect mass protest to be predominantly unarmed. However, in retrospect there are many reasons why initially the 'Arab Spring' took the forms it did in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and other states. Moreover, as scholars of nonviolent civil resistance pointed out, in the first months the most significant movements displayed some of the classic characteristics of such resistance. In the longer term, however, many of the movements have failed to fulfill their initial promise, overtaken by armed civil war (as happened quickly in Libya and more gradually in Syria), or failing to achieve their initial democratic promise - most notably in Egypt. The impressive protests at the 'Pearl Roundabout' in Bahrain were quite quickly crushed, and preemptive offers by rulers of Morocco and Jordan to make reforms to meet public demands have so far only diluted royal power. This article briefly elaborates on the points made above, and then raises some questions about the future.

Dear WRI supporter,

As authoritarian rulers are finally toppled after decades in power, we have all been reminded of the power a united population can wield through nonviolent action. And again we have seen that the cynical support for dictatorship in the name of stability is a recipe for repression and injustice.

At the same time, there are two grave challenges arising from the events in North Africa and the Middle East for those of us who advocate nonviolent action and campaign against government policies that pursue unprincipled alliances of convenience and arms trading.

War Resisters' International - an international network of more than 80 antimilitarist groups in more than 40 countries - declares:

We are sick and tired of military interventions that shield behind false "humanitarian motives" - be that in Libya or elsewhere.
We are sick and tired of the logic of violence as a form of resolving social and political conflicts.
Yet once again we have to address these themes as if nothing has been learnt in the last hundred years.

We absolutely reject foreign military intervention in Libya, whatever the excuse.

Statement on Libya

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International Co-ordinating Committee No to War – No to NATO

The International Co-ordinating Committee No to War – No to NATO (ICC) strongly condemns the attacks of the USA, France, and Britain on Libya, to implement a so-called “no-fly zone”. The attacks, clearly prepared before the United Nations Security Council authorised the no-fly zone, do not contribute to a solution of the Libyan crisis, but only add further suffering. The ICC also strongly criticises UN Security Council resolution 1973 from 17 March 2011, which authorises military action against Libya.

Jordi Calvo

The uprisings in the Arab world have led to extreme violence in the country which has suffered the longest-standing and most repressive dictatorship of the Arab world. Due to the lack of information from the press, we suppose that the protests took place against repression on a smaller scale, perhaps at the hands of Libyan security forces who, when faced with the success of these uprisings, did not want to face their people. Therefore it is presumed that those who are using military strategies are mercenaries. It is very difficult to know where these soldiers are coming from and whether they form part of private military organisations, which are playing an increasingly important role in current armed conflicts. It is also difficult to know what arms we are talking about when we hear the news that fighter planes and helicopters are shooting at the civilian population. However, it is not impossible to find out this information.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief,
Asma Jahangir

Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received


Urgent appeal sent on 13 February 2007 jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture


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07/08/1998 1 Conscription

conscription exists

The 12 June 1988 Green Charter of Human Rights of the Jamahiriyan Era in art. 25 states that "the defense of the Jamahiriyan society is the responsibility of every citizen, man or woman". [3]

Military service is regulated by the 5 May 1978 Compulsory Military Service Law. [1]

The official Libyan defence doctrine is that of a "people in arms", which means that everybody (women included) must be trained to defend the country.

23 November 1994


13. Another area of concern is that of freedom of religion. The severe punishments for heresy (which are said not to have been used) and the restrictions on the right to change religion appear to be inconsistent with article 18 of the Covenant. The lack of provision for conscientious objection to military service is another concern.



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