Libya: UN calls for active participation of women in drafting of new constitution

Libyan women queue up to vote on election day in July 2012. Photo: UNSMIL

29 May 2013 – The United Nations today called on Libya to ensure women in the country actively participate in the drafting of the new constitution, stressing their contributions are necessary to rebuild the nation.

“It is no secret that the drafting of the constitution and the preparations involved are of special significance to Libya’s democratic transition towards stability and prosperity,” the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a news release. “Representation and meaningful participation of women in the Constitution-Drafting Assembly and in the process of drafting the constitution will consequently contribute to the building of the new Libya.”

UNSMIL noted that women played a significant role in sparking the 17 February Revolution which toppled former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi two years ago.

“[Women] worked tirelessly to consolidate the values of the revolution in building an inclusive state of law and equality, and impressively participated in the country’s first free elections in over four decades,” UNSMIL said.

The Mission added that women’s representation in public life has largely been possible due to the special measures adopted for the elections last year, which allowed 32 women to win seats in the parliament, and urged decision-makers to consider adopting special measures in the elections to the Constitution-Drafting Assembly.

“Special measures for women, including quotas, are effective tools in helping increase women’s political participation and are in line with international standards and obligations,” UNSMIL said. “The elections of 2012 serve as an exemplary example of the positive impact of special measures on women’s representation, not only for Libya but for the whole world.”

The Mission also reiterated its commitment to support Libyans in their democratic transition, and in particular to facilitate the participation of women in public life.

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