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Security and Justice Libya

Libyan women to UN Support Mission: no women, no peace

This week, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya plans to update the UN security Council on the Action Plan to promote inclusive and lasting peace in the divided country. Libyan women, supported by Cordaid, come with clear recommendations to the UN. No durable peace is possible without the full political participation of Libyan women and youth, they say.

February marked the 7-year anniversary of the uprising that toppled the government and led to civil war in 2014. Despite the Libyan Political Agreement, signed in December 2015, little progress has been made in establishing unified and legitimate institutions. In fact, calls for elections at the onset of 2018, led to further unrest and instability.

To contribute to a way forward, 2 Libyan women’s organisations, Together We Build It and Tamazight Women Movement, come with some strong recommendations for the implementation of the UN Action Plan. This Plan was presented to the UN Security Council in September 2017.

“Without a coherent disarmament plan, democratic processes such as elections, will fail.”

Asma Khalifa, Co-founder of Tamazight Women Movement

Little to no space for women, youth and indigenous groups

“The security situation in Libya has now degraded to the point where military dominance leaves little to no space for women to participate in reconciliation and peace processes”, the organisations say. “This has negatively impacted on women’s freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of public and political engagement.”

They point out that apart from women, also youth, civil society organisations, indigenous people and minorities are largely excluded from the political processes, meant to build lasting peace Libya. Including processes led by the UN Support Mission (UNSMIL).

“Excluding these voices”, they claim, “results in incomplete analysis and a limited understanding of legitimate peace and security concerns of different groups.”

Recommendation to UN Member States

Regarding the UNSMIL Action Plan, they urge the UN to:

  • call for regular meetings with women and youth in Libya to consult on all aspects of the UNSMIL Action Plan;
  • call for the full political participation of women and youth and ensure them a fair chance to participate in the elections;
  • address ongoing threats to women human rights defenders and civil society leaders;
  • investigate and monitor human rights violations, including Sexual and Gender Based Violence.

They clearly state that disarmament and arms control are conditional to prevent further escalation. Therefore, they ask:

  • for the prioritisation of a comprehensive disarmament strategy, crafted by both Libyan and international stakeholders and including local and gender perspectives;
  • to promote local initiatives that promote the reintegration of militia and armed groups, prior and parallel to a disarmament strategy.

These are only some of the recommendations. Read the full policy brief, containing more recommendations.


Tamazight Women Movement and Together We Build It are 2 of 8 Libyan civil society organisations Cordaid supports, as part of the program ‘Women and Youth as bridge builders: strengthening resilience in Libya’. This program falls under the Dutch national Action Plan 1325. It is implemented by Cordaid in partnership with Human Security Collective and the 8 Libyan civil society organisations.

More about this week’s meeting in NYC between the UN Security Council and the head of UNSMIL.

More about Cordaid’s Security and Justice programs, of which Women and Youth as Bridge Builders is part.

Cordaid recently interviewed Rida Al Tubuly, co-founder of Together We Build It.

(Featured image: Left to right: Hajer Sharief (co-founder Together We Build It), Inas Maloud (co-founder Tamazight Women Movement), Asma Khalifa (co-founder TWM), Rida Al Tubuly (co-founder TWBI)