Libya

Facilitated by the UN, national experts adopt draft law on combatting violence against women in Libya

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TUNIS, 19 June 2021 – A group of Libyan experts – lawyers, judges, activists, and human rights defenders – met in Tunis from 16-18 June, to review the draft law on Combating Violence Against Women. The forum led to a comprehensive review of the 2017 draft law which was fundamentally revised, enhanced, and importantly, vastly improved upon. Supported by UNSMIL’s Human Rights, Rule of Law and Transitional Service, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as UN Women and UNFPA, the group of women and men, also met virtually several times during 2021 before convening in Tunis.

The 2021 draft law represents a milestone in terms of the protection and promotion of the rights of all women and girls in Libya, in line with international standards and regional best practices.

“The 2021 draft will serve to transform the culture of violence against women and girls in Libya,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya, Head of UNSMIL, Ján Kubiš. “It is the first major step in a long process that requires the draft to be enshrined and fully implemented, ultimately paving the way for the advancement of women’s rights in Libya.”

The 2021 draft law criminalizes all forms of violence against women, including cyber violence and online hate speech, identifies protection and prevention mechanisms, and defines institutional responsibilities. It further entails the creation of a national commission to combat violence against women and a dedicated trust fund to support victims of violence.

This draft is inspired by the conclusions of the Berlin Conference on Libya; the Libya Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) Roadmap provisions on the need to advance human rights protection as a critical foundation for sustainable peace and security; and builds on the efforts of prominent Libyan lawyers and human rights defenders who prepared the first-ever draft law on combatting violence against women.

Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Houria Eltermal, who attended the last session of the meeting on Friday, committed to supporting the enactment process of the draft law, commended the efforts of Libyan experts, and hailed the draft law as a monumental achievement.