UN strongly condemns assassination of Libyan human rights advocate

Salwa Bugaighis during the annual session in New York of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, March 2014. Photo: UN News Centre

26 June 2014 – The United Nations today condemned the assassination of Salwa Bugaighis, a prominent Libyan human rights advocate and member of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue.

According to news reports, Ms. Bugaighis was shot and killed yesterday by hooded assailants when she returned home from voting in the country’s parliamentary elections.

In a news release, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on Libyan authorities to thoroughly investigate the assassination and bring the perpetrators to justice. It also offered its condolences to her family, as did the head of UN Women and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“Today the entire UN Women family is shocked and dismayed…we mourn the loss of a sister and courageous human rights defender,” Executive-Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said during a news conference in New York to kick off the agency’s year-long commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the landmark women’s rights summit held in Beijing, China, in 1995.

“We condemn the assassination of this brave woman, who led and advocated for the human rights of her people,” she said.

Mr. Ban strongly condemned the assassination of Ms. Bugaighis, whom he called “a courageous and respected human rights defender who played a significant role in the 2011 Libyan revolution and continued to contribute to the transition.”

In a statement to the press, the UN chief reiterated the need “to protect human rights defenders and calls on all Libyans to refrain from violence and acts that undermine the democratic transition process.”

At the same time, Mr. Ban congratulated the people of Libya on the election of the Council of Representatives. Commending all actors for providing space to conduct the important election, he paid tribute to the High National Election Commission for its work in supervising the polls.

“The election marks an important step in moving the transition process forward and stabilizing the political process,” he said.

Mr. Ban also reiterated the UN’s commitment to work closely with the newly-elected body in furthering the aspirations of the Libyan people to build a State based on democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.


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