1. The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2510 (2020), 2542 (2020), 2570 (2021) and 2599 (2021), covers political, security and economic developments in Libya. It provides an overview of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country and of the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) since the issuance of the previous report (S/2021/752) on 25 August 2021.
II. Political, security-related and economic developments
2. During the reporting period, legislative and technical preparations continued for the national elections initially scheduled to be held on 24 December. However, persistent disagreements over the legal framework for elections passed by the House of Representatives, political and legal disputes related to the eligibility of several presidential candidates, and reported security threats against the High National Election Commission resulted in the Commission delaying the release of the final list of eligible presidential candidates, effectively postponing the elections.
3. On 17 November, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Libya, Ján Kubiš, tendered his resignation, which the Secretary-General accepted effective 10 December. On 6 December, he appointed Stephanie Williams as his Special Adviser on Libya. He asked her to work closely with UNSMIL in cooperation with Libyan, regional and international actors. She took up her functions on 10 December.
4. From 12 to 23 December, the Special Adviser held meetings with political, security, economic and civil society representatives in Tripoli, Misratah, Sirte and Benghazi, including members of the Presidency Council, the Government of National Unity, the High National Election Commission, the House of Representatives, the High State Council and the Supreme Judicial Council, and candidates for the presidential and parliamentary elections. She focused her consultations on the challenges affecting the electoral process and explored ways to address them while sustaining the momentum towards holding the elections.
5. On 19 December, the Special Adviser hosted a meeting with the Chair of the High National Election Commission, the Minister of Interior and the acting head of parliament to take stock of the situation and identify a way forward. She subsequently encouraged the House of Representatives to focus its efforts on holding the national elections, noting that, in amending the electoral framework, the House should adhere strictly to the provisions of the 2015 Libyan Political Agreement and comply with its own rules of procedures and act transparently.
6. On 22 December, the High National Election Commission informed the House of Representatives of the inability of the Commission to organize elections in line with the road map of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum and relevant Security Council resolutions and asked the House to set a new date for the elections. On 23 December, the Secretary-General issued a statement in which he commended the 2.8 million Libyans who had registered to vote and stated that presidential and parliamentary elections must be held in Libya in the appropriate conditions to peacefully end the political transition and transfer power to democratically elected institutions.
7. On 27 and 28 December, the House of Representatives convened a session in Tobruk to discuss the most recent developments concerning the electoral process and the way forward, including a report of the committee established by the House on the electoral process. As a result, the House established a new committee to develop recommendations on the way forward for the electoral process.
8. On 3 January, the Chair of the High National Election Commission briefed the House of Representatives on why it was unable to conduct elections on 24 December. He cited inconsistencies in the legal framework and irregularities in the judicial appeal process for the selection of candidates to the presidential elections. He also reported that the Commission had received threats warning against the names of certain individuals appearing on the final list of candidates for the presidential elections.
9. Meanwhile, efforts towards the full implementation of the Agreement for a complete and permanent ceasefire in Libya between the Libyan Army of the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army of the General Command of the Armed Forces (S/2020/1043, annex), which was signed on 23 October 2020, continued throughout the reporting period, with a specific focus on the withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya. On 8 October, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, with the support of the United Nations, adopted an action plan for a gradual, balanced and sequenced process of withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces from Libyan territory. The plan specifically references the role of United Nations ceasefire monitors in supporting its implementation. On 10 October, the first team of United Nations monitors was deployed as part of the UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring component. The action plan was formally endorsed during the Libya Stabilization Conference held in Tripoli on 21 October.