Statement at Security Council Briefing on Libya
Statement24 January 2022
Thank you very much, Madam President,
I’d also like to thank our briefers this morning, Under-Secretary-General di Carlo, Ambassador Tirumurti, and a special thanks to our civil society briefer, Elham Saudi. You delivered several very important messages to us this morning, and we will reflect on your cogent and very courageous remarks.
Let me begin by noting that we look forward to the substantive renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate at the end of the month. The Mission continues to do vital work on the ground in Libya.
At the first meetings of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in November 2020, participants representing the full spectrum of Libyan society committed to a roadmap leading to democratic, inclusive and credible national elections. Libyans, and the international community, reaffirmed this solemn commitment in Berlin, in Tripoli, and once again last November in Paris.
2.8 million Libyans have since registered to vote, showing their determination to decide their own future, and to turn the page on a lost decade of conflict and instability. We call on all Libyan stakeholders to address the underlying issues that have held back progress in the electoral process to date, and to swiftly commit to holding free, fair and inclusive elections as soon as possible.
The international community and the UN stand ready to support the Libyan authorities. I commend the critical work carried out by the High National Electoral Commission in preparing the country for a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned electoral process, against a challenging background. This crucial work now continues.
As Ms. Asma Khalifa told this Council in September, and as we have heard again this morning from Elham, Libyan women have been repeatedly failed by all actors in Libya. We should not accept that only those who have been involved in conflict get a chance to shape the peace. As Libyans continue on the path to peace, the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women, and the inclusion of youth in all areas of Libya’s political, economic and security sectors, must be secured. Libyan women must be included in the political discussions that determine the future of their country, Libya.
The Ceasefire Agreement of October 2020 cleared the space for a political process. We commend the progress to date on its implementation. The Coastal Road between Sirte and Misrata has remained open, allowing the Special Adviser to travel and engage with a diverse group of Libyans. The deployment in October and December of the first UN ceasefire monitors marked an essential step forward and we hope for future progress on this track.
We are concerned, however, by ongoing security threats, including those stemming from competition between armed groups. The unity of Libya must be safeguarded, and that includes unifying the security sector. We reiterate our call for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries. This will require close consultation with Libya’s neighbours, and a UN-supervised, gender-responsive DDR process. We commend the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission for its close and ongoing cooperation with neighbouring states, the African Union and UNSMIL.
The impact of a decade of conflict in Libya has been devastating, including most tragically for Libya’s children.
We are appalled by reports of killings, maiming, and abductions of children, despite the ceasefire. UN OCHA estimates more than a quarter of a million children in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance. We call on all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, pursue accountability for violations and ensure unimpeded humanitarian access across the country. In this regard we also continue to support the important work of the Independent Fact Finding Mission on Libya.
Child migrants and refugees arbitrarily detained in Libya face deplorable conditions and abuse. We urge the Libyan authorities to seek alternatives to detention that prioritise the needs and rights of migrants and refugees, including children.
Last week, we marked the 25th anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate. Surely rights of children in Libya should be safeguarded, as a step towards ensuring the hope and prosperity of an entire future generation.
Thank you, Madam President.