A unified Libya will only come through the ballot box, “not with arms”, according to the Security Council
Welcoming the positive developments on three different tracks of the intra-Libyan dialogue, Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, also acknowledged the challenges that need to be overcome.
“So many Libyans have told us, the path to a stable and united Libya is through the ballot box, not through guns,” she said. “We must be on their side.”
Growing polarization among political actors and disputes over key aspects of the electoral process led to the postponement of the long-awaited December 24 elections.
The High National Commission for Elections (HNEC) cited gaps in the legal framework as well as political and security concerns. To address this issue, the House of Representatives created a roadmap committee to chart a new political course that sets out an electoral timeline and process.
New Special Advisor
Last month, Stephanie Williams was appointed special adviser on Libya, having served as acting special representative and head of the United Nations support mission, UNSMIL, last year.
To date, she has undertaken extensive consultations, including with members of the Government of National Unity (GNU), the High National Electoral Commission, the House of Representatives, and presidential and legislative candidates.
Oil-rich Libya has descended into multiple crises since the toppling of the former Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, which saw the country divided in recent years between rival administrations – a recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) by the UN based in the capital Tripoli, and that of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Ms. Williams reiterated that the focus of the current political process should remain on holding “free, fair, inclusive and credible national elections” as soon as possible.
“In all of her meetings, the special adviser has highlighted the 2.8 million Libyans who have registered to vote,” Ms. DiCarlo said, adding that she also called on everyone to respect the will of the Libyan people. and to adhere to the timetable agreed in the roadmap of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which was endorsed by the Security Council.
The UN political affairs chief said continued dialogue between political, security and economic actors across the country was essential.
“We have seen reports of consultations between the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the High Council of State, as well as between presidential candidates from western and eastern Libya,” he said. she declared.
On the security front, there have been meetings between various armed groups, as well as the Chief of General Staff of Western military forces under the GNU and the acting Commander General of the rival LNA, with the participation military leaders and chiefs of staff. departments on both sides.
Regarding the economy, further steps have been taken to reunify the Central Bank of Libya.
In addition, renewed efforts continue to advance national reconciliation based on the principles of transitional justice.
© UNICEF/Giovanni DiffidentiA boy runs through the ruins of the Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli, Libya.
While the ceasefire continued to hold, “the political uncertainty ahead of the elections had a negative impact on the overall security situation”, the political leader told the Council, including in Tripoli.
This has led to a shift in alliances between armed groups affiliated with some presidential candidates, she added.
Similarly, unfulfilled demands made to the GNU by Oil Facility Guards (PFGs) in western Libya led to a halt in oil production, prompting the National Oil Corporation to declare in December, force majeure – a disclaimer for natural and unavoidable disasters.
Following negotiations between the PFG and the GNU, oil production was restored on January 9.
To implement the ceasefire agreement, last month military representatives from the opposing sides, called the Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) 5+5, discussed with Turkish and Russian authorities a plan of action to gradually withdraw mercenaries and foreign fighters from the country.
At the same time, despite serious logistical and security problems, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) continued its work to establish a ceasefire monitoring center in Sirte, pending the GNU approval for housing and offices.
Human rights concerns
“The human rights situation in Libya remains of grave concern,” Ms. DiCarlo said, noting “documented incidents of election-related violence and attacks based on political affiliation,” which she described as obstacles to an environment conducive to a free, fair, peaceful life and credible elections.
“We are particularly concerned that women and men working for the protection and promotion of women’s rights continue to be the target of hate speech, defamation and incitement to violence,” he said. she declared. “Some of the disturbing social media posts that posed a threat to the safety and security of these individuals have been removed after UNSMIL brought them to the attention of social media platforms.”
Meanwhile, arbitrary detention by state and non-state actors continued across the country, and many detainees suffered serious human rights violations.
The situation of migrants and refugees is also very worrying.
“Large numbers of migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea and returned to Libya continue to be held in inhuman and degrading conditions with limited humanitarian assistance. Thousands of people are missing,” the UN official said.
Ms DiCarlo pointed out that hundreds of foreign nationals have been deported from Libya’s eastern and southern borders without due process, some “placed in extremely vulnerable situations in remote stretches of the Sahara Desert without food, water, security and medical care. enough “.
“The United Nations remains ready to work with the Libyan authorities on a long-term national response to the management of migration and refugees, in accordance with international law, to include the consideration of human rights concerns. “, she assured.
© UNICEF/Alessio RomenziMigrants sit in the courtyard of a detention center in Libya. (to file)
To ensure political progress, Elham Saudi, co-founder and director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya, said everyone who commits abuses must be held accountable, including mercenaries.
She noted that without law, revenge would be the only winner.
Ms Saudi also maintained the importance of an enabling environment for all human rights defenders, especially women, and expressed hope for a human rights-based approach in the way Libya is governed in the future.
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