Today we concluded a very successful human rights dialogue with the Libyan government. Our two days of discussions covered a range of important issues, including the upcoming parliamentary elections, detention policies and practices, freedom of expression, and issues relating to accountability and reconciliation. I want to thank Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdul-Aziz for hosting these meetings, and for his thoughtful engagement in these discussions.
Libya is at a key moment in its democratic transition. In several weeks, Libyans will go to the polls to elect a national congress, the first open elections in more than four decades. And there are other positive signs, including the emergence of a dynamic civil society, several of whose leaders we met yesterday. Libyans are increasingly exercising their freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association. And there are growing demands for greater official transparency and accountability.
But this more open environment also has pushed longstanding local conflicts and tensions to the fore. In places like Sabha and Kufra, violent clashes have left scores dead and hundreds more wounded. In these and other places, the government has yet to gain effective control over armed brigades, some of whom continue to contribute to a climate of insecurity and who hold several thousand people in detention in conditions that do not meet international standards.
Our discussions of these and other sensitive issues with Libyan officials were frank and respectful, practical and forward-looking. I came away from these discussions, and from my meetings with those outside of government, with a sense of hope and renewed commitment to stand by the Libyan government and people as they work to build a better future and overcome the tragic legacy of the Qadhafi years.