The Constituent Assembly will be chosen by popular election, which is expected later in 2013. The GNC is currently preparing an election law for that election.
Women’s active participation in the Constituent Assembly is essential, Human Rights Watch said. This includes appointing a gender advisor to help ensure the draft constitution meets international standards of human rights.
Once drafting of the constitution begins, the Constituent Assembly should include explicit language that guarantees full equality between women and men. The constitution should make clear that its provisions on equality override any law, Human Rights Watch said.
The new constitution, which must be approved by popular referendum, should explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender, sex, pregnancy, and marital status, among other categories, Human Rights Watch said. Libya is party to the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women and other international instruments that require gender equality before the law. The government should also prioritize ending discrimination against women that is still pervasive in Libya and minimizing violence against women, including domestic violence.
The report urges the General National Congress and future parliaments to repeal or amend Gaddafi-era laws and regulations that subject women to discrimination and abuse. This includes discriminatory laws on gender-based violence, unequal personal status laws, and an ambiguous nationality law, as well as problematic articles in the penal code.
Libya’s current penal code, for example, classifies sexual violence as a “crime against a woman’s honor,” rather than against a woman as a victim or as a violation of her bodily integrity. Law No. 70 on dealing with adultery and fornication discourages victims of sexual assault from reporting crimes.