Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Libya
Statement24 October 2022
Thanks you very much Mr. President,
Let me I begin by welcoming our briefer this afternoon, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNSMIL, Mr. Bathily, in his first briefing to the Council. The long-awaited appointment of an SRSG is a critical step towards peace and stability in Libya, and it is very welcome.
SRSG, you have our full support for your efforts to assist Libya on the pathway to elections, and to facilitate the much needed resumption of political dialogue. We call on all actors in Libya to engage with you constructively and in good faith.
We also look forward to the full implementation of the recommendations of UNSMIL’s Strategic Review, under your leadership. We believe that this will equip the Mission to achieve optimum impact on the ground.
As recently as September, in Zawiyah, we were sadly reminded that the hard won gains since the signing of the October 2021 ceasefire agreement are at risk. The politically motivated violence witnessed in Tripoli in August, resulted in the deaths of almost 40 people, as well as damage to critical civilian infrastructure. It is unacceptable that Libya’s civilian population continues to bear the brunt of fighting between rival armed groups and administrations. We reiterate that all actors have a responsibility to protect civilians, and must be held to account when they fail to do so.
To end this cycle of violence and to avoid a serious escalation, a unified government for all Libyans is urgently required. The only way to achieve this is through free, fair and inclusive elections.
We urge the Libyan parties to come together and renew momentum towards agreeing a constitutional basis for the holding of elections as soon as possible. We urge them to put narrow and self-serving interests aside. We urge them to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric, and from politicizing Libya’s natural resources. Furthermore, actions that could undermine regional stability should be avoided.
At this precarious moment, we must not lose sight of the increasingly troubling human rights situation in Libya, including recent indications that death penalty sentences could be issued again. Civil society space is shrinking and women are expressly targeted for their activism and political participation. Social media vilification of human rights defenders, humanitarian workers, and other civil society actors is reprehensible, and comes at a steep cost to the broader population.
The figures on arbitrary detention are shocking. Migrants, refugees, children are among those held in dire conditions. We encourage the UN, member states and the Libyan authorities to work towards human rights based alternatives to detention.
Finally Mr. President,
Ireland looks forward to the renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate later this week, and we are working closely with colleagues around the table to that end. Most critically, we reiterate our full support for a renewal of the mandate for the standard twelve-month duration. We firmly believe that this will provide much-needed stability and predictability to the Mission, at a critical and sensitive juncture for Libya.
To conclude, we reiterate our steadfast support to UN as well as international efforts, including the Berlin process, to overcome the current political deadlock and reach a sustainable Libyan-led and Libyan owned solution.