Emergency measures to counter covid-19 in Libya have been amplified by the lack of a constitutional clause on emergency measures and by the continuing conflict between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in western Libya and the Interim Libyan Government (ILG) associated with General Haftar in eastern Libya. This led to ad-hoc extraordinary measures based on often conflicting legislation to halt the pandemic.
Both de facto authorities relied on different statutes to instate emergency measures. They imposed curfews, limited movement between cities, closed shops and places of assembly and prohibited the gathering of large groups. Yet these restrictions were largely overlooked by citizens, especially during important occasions such as Ramadan and Eid.
There is some doubt as to whether there was an appropriate legal basis for these measures, or if the measures were simply used to further political interests and limit rights and freedoms.
This briefing paper provides an overview of Libya’s response to the covid-19 pandemic, its legal and political ramifications and its effect on rights and freedoms.