Statement made at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council  (27 February to 24 March 2017) under Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building, Interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on the situation of human rights in Libya

This is a statement by WILPF supported by Together We Build It organization in Libya. It draws on a written statement submitted by WILPF to this Council’s session.[1]

We welcome the report of UN High Commissioner on the human rights situation in Libya.[2] We share the High Commissioner’s concerns about the Office’s findings indicating “a pattern of attacks using imprecise weapons in heavily populated or residential areas, which together may amount to indiscriminate attacks”.[3] The use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Libya, especially in aerial bombardment, continues to take a huge toll as 70% of the deaths and injuries from explosive violence since 2011 have been civilian.

In the context of the ‘war on ISIS’, frequent calls are made by numerous States to reverse the arms sanctions and flood new weapon systems into the country to ‘improve security’. Women activists strongly oppose such calls, pointing out that doing that will do little to create security and instead risks escalating the existing crises in the country. In this regard, we support the High Commissioner’s recommendation for government to “prioritize disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes”.[4] We deeply regret, however, that report does not include any recommendations relating to stopping the flow of weapons to warring parties.

Mr. President

We urge all States to immediately cease the transfers of weapons to warring parties in Libya and call on the Human Rights Council to support that call.

We urge States to stop directing financial aid to military and operations intended to ‘end terror’, that only lead to an increased militarised environment. States should invest those funds instead in humanitarian actions where they are vitally needed.

Finally, we urge States to honour their commitments to include women in all decision-making levels. A cadre of committed and capable Libyan women stands ready to offer alternative solutions to endless war, but they are not included in decision-making on the country’s future. Libyan women deserve more than lip service to their inclusion.


[1] Multidimensional Insecurity and its Impacts on Libyan Women, UN index A/HRC/34/NGO/161.
[2] Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Libya, including on the effectiveness of technical assistance and capacity- building measures received by the Government of Libya, UN index: A/HRC/34/42.
[3] Paragraph 16, UN report A/HRC/34/42.
[4] Paragraph 82, UN report A/HRC/34/42.