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Libya: GNA Grants Chadians Passports amid Growing Concerns

Libya: GNA Grants Chadians Passports amid Growing Concerns

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 - 10:15
Libyan National Army forces pose for picture as they head for Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing to Tripoli, Libya (File photo: Reuters)

Libyan politicians and human rights activists expressed concern after the Ministry of Interior at the Government of National Accord (GNA) granted passports to Aouzou citizens, Chad, saying they have Libyan identity numbers.

The Ministry’s recent move is interpreted as the government's desire to use those citizens as militants in the battle against the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar on the southern outskirts of Tripoli.

Earlier, Office Director of Interior Minister, Brigadier General Ahmed El-Sadek, addressed heads of the Passports, Nationality and Foreigners Affairs, and the Civil Status Department, on the right of Aouzou citizens who hold national identity numbers to obtain Libyan passports.

Sadek claimed that having the national ID is a prerequisite for obtaining documents and documents indicating citizenship. It is also a condition to obtain any public services requested by citizens born in Aouzou, or other areas within the country or abroad.

Some argued that the procedures adopted by the legal advisor of the Interior Minister “have no legal basis and are invalid.”

Asharq Al-Awsat tried to contact the Interior Ministry for clarification, but there was no response.

Director of the National Human Rights Commission in Libya, Ahmed Abdel Hakim Hamza wondered whether the decision concerns citizens born in Aouzou who left the sector after it was annexed to Chad and moved to Libyan territory, or all Aouzou-born citizens, including those currently living in it.

Hamza also questioned why the decision only required a national ID number to obtain a passport, without requiring Libyan citizenship.

The 114,000-square-kilometer Aouzou region caused a long-running dispute between Libya and Chad until the International Court of Justice ruled that Chad had a majority vote in the region.

In the early 1970s, Libya had full control and administration of the territory to the extent it issued identification cards to residents of the border, and administratively attached it to Murzuq, south of the country.

Secretary-General of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Libya, Abdel-Moneim al-Hur described the decision issued by GNA as “dangerous” and told Asharq Al-Awsat it was referred to Organization’s legal adviser for consideration.

Sabha MP Ali al-Saidi Qaidi rejected the decision of Interior Minister Fathi Pasha Agha to issue passports to some citizens of the Chadian Aouzou region.

He pointed out that Libya ceded the territory to Chad following the ruling of the International Court of Justice on February 1994.

Website of al-Marsad newspaper quoted al-Qaidi as saying that this is a manipulation of national security, noting they are Chadian mercenaries to be used by the GNA in its war against LNA.

Qaidi defended his point of view saying GNA has lost a number of fighters and is now trying to bring in more mercenaries by granting them national Ids, but the “Libyan army will put an end to this mockery within the coming days.”

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