On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salamé, calls for the protection of all women and girls in Libya from violence.
More efforts should be made to reach women across Libya, including those from the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as internally displaced people, minorities, indigenous peoples, populations affected by conflict, refugees and migrants.
In the words of the Secretary-General, “Every woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence”.
For years, violence and insecurity have and continue to disproportionately affect women and girls, severely restricting their freedom of movement, their ability to participate in the public domain, and their ability to seek remedy for violations.
This year alone, at least 18 women and 13 girls were killed, and another 26 women and 15 girls were injured during hostilities. The Libyan people, in particular those in vulnerable situations, including women and girls, need strong institutions and systems in place to ensure their protection and to promote the rule of law.
Gender Based Violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims. Yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.
The proliferation of weapons in Libya disproportionately harm women and girls. They continue to be arbitrarily detained and held in prisons without female guards. Migrant women and girls are particularly vulnerable to abuses, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, beatings, and indefinite detention in appalling conditions.
The violations of human rights in detention centers of irregular migrants and the situation of women remain critical issues, and ones that the UN is committed to addressing.
I wish to commend the efforts of women’s groups and civil society organisations in Libya who are working to promote women’s rights and equality. Together, we can end violence against women and girls and help set Libya on a path of justice, equality and respect of human rights, where women and men jointly build their nation.
The UN shall continue work to end violence against women in Libya, and to support Libyan women in attaining a critical mass exercising their political rights together with government counterparts and women’s groups and organisations.