Statement on Libya

UN Human Rights Council, 40th session (25 February to 22 March 2019)
Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building

The interaction between dimensions of patriarchal culture with concepts of masculinity, militarism and fundamentalism has created obstacles to women’s participation in political and peace efforts in Libya. Yet, women’s resilience and their insistence on participation has created some alternative routes at the grassroots level, which have greatly contributed to preventing and decreasing violence in several regions. However, these women’s initiatives will continue to be restricted to the individual and local levels as long as there is no political will to ensure the meaningful participation of women at all stages and in all regions of the country.

Regrettably, international, national and local actors have contributed to the systemic exclusion of women from the political sphere and international dialogue on Libya. For example, in the consultative phase of the Libyan National Conference Process supported by United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)[1] only a quarter of the participants were women.[2] This low level of inclusion is the consequence of a process that did not prioritise women’s meaningful participation. The low priority given to this, in turn, inhibits the possibility of women’s needs and priorities being included in any roadmap to future peace agreements and transitional justice processes.

WILPF urges all States, UNSMIL, UN agencies, and donors to take concrete steps to redress this situation, including by:

  • Supporting women’s and feminist groups at all levels in peace and political processes, including by providing them with resources and timely information on all aspects of these processes;
  • Ensuring the inclusion of all groups of society in Libya, especially women, in negotiation processes and national dialogues at the national, regional, and grassroots levels, and taking into consideration their different needs, concerns, and priorities;
  • Advocating for a change in the electoral legislation to include a 30% minimum quota for women so as to ensure their representation in political positions;
  • Urging all political parties to ensure that women are meaningfully represented in all meetings and consultation processes related to peace talks, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2376.

[1] See paragraph of UN report A/HRC/40/46, paragraph 6

[2] For more information, see WILPF written statement on Libya submitted to 39th session of the Human Rights Council, available at: