Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Libya
Statement16 December 2022
Thank you Madame President. And thank you for your briefing today and your work chairing the 1970 committee.
Thank you also Special Representative Bathily for your informative updates this morning. As this is Ireland’s last scheduled briefing on Libya during our tenure on the Council, I wish to acknowledge and express our appreciation for your vital work since taking up office. And please be Rest assured of our support going forward.
Madame President, next week will mark one year since the postponement of Libya’s planned presidential and parliamentary elections. These elections were intended to mark a crucial stage in securing a peaceful, stable and prosperous outlook for all Libyans. They were intended to return the future of Libya into the hands of the Libyan people.
Regrettably, since the postponement last December, we have not seen the progress required to bring us back to the ballot box. The prolonged divide over executive power is deeply troubling and we are concerned that political and institutional divisions could become even more entrenched. There is an urgent need for all Libyan leaders to come together and agree on a constitutional basis for the holding of free, fair and inclusive elections, as soon as possible.
We urge all Libyan institutions, including the House of Representatives, the High State Council, and the Presidential Council, to reinvigorate efforts to this end, through good faith dialogue. All stakeholders, both in Libya and internationally, must set aside self-interest in service of a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the people of Libya.
We are very encouraged by the Special Representative’s commitment to an inclusive approach to overcoming the deadlock. We welcome his visit to Sebha in southern Libya last month.
We also agree with his assessment that Libyan women have a critical role to play in Libya’s journey to stability. We should not accept that only those who have been involved in conflict get a chance to shape the 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.
While the ceasefire continues to hold, we are concerned that the protracted political stalemate and prominence of politically aligned militias will lead to deeper instability and conflict, as we witnessed in Tripoli last August. All actors have a responsibility to protect civilians and refrain from escalatory actions or rhetoric.
We welcome the continued work of the Joint Military Commission - a key enabler of the ceasefire agreement. The establishment in November of a subcommittee on armed groups, and the convening of the Security Working Group in Tunis earlier this month, are welcome steps. Unification of the military and security architecture is quite clearly a key component for any sustainable solution.
President, on the other hand, we remain deeply concerned by shrinking civil society space in Libya. The deliberate targeting of civil society, including women’s rights activists, as well as arbitrary detention, must end.
Migrants and refugees continue to be subject to human rights violations and face serious humanitarian and protection concerns. The killing of at least 15 migrants and asylum-seekers in Sabratha in October serves as a shocking reminder of this grim reality.
We urge the Libyan authorities to address impunity and ensure accountability for all those who have suffered violations of international humanitarian law as well as violations and abuses of human rights. Ensuring accountability and justice is essential not only for victims and survivors, but also to counter impunity and prevent future violations.
We welcome efforts made by the authorities to advance durable solutions for internally displaced persons, including through the finalisation of a national strategy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
Madame President, let me conclude by echoing the Special Representative’s call for a Libyan-led and owned process, under UN auspices, that addresses the aspirations of the Libyan people to choose their own leadership. We urge all members around this table to remain united in support of these legitimate aspirations.
The status quo, which serves only the few and not the many, is unsustainable and frankly unacceptable. We hope that 2023 will find Libyans on the path to a genuine and sustainable peace.