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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Libya

Thank you very much Mr. President,


I want to thank to our briefers, Under-Secretary-General di Carlo, Ambassador Tirumurti and Dr. Jazia Shaiter, and I want to welcome our colleague the Ambassador of Libya amongst us this morning.


Mr. President,


The deterioration of the overall situation on the ground in Libya since the postponement of elections last December is a matter of really serious concern. The fragile hard-won unity and calm achieved since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in October 2020 is now in danger. For the sake of the Libyan people, it cannot and should not be eroded.


Reports of the mobilisation of forces in and around Tripoli are deeply troubling. The serious political polarisation we are witnessing is equally disconcerting. We reiterate calls on all parties to refrain from violence, and from any provocative or destabilising deeds or words.


Mr. President,


At this critical juncture, all actors have the responsibility to safeguard the progress that the Libyan people, supported by the international community, have worked so hard to achieve in recent years.  Outstanding disagreements between Libyan stakeholders can only be resolved through peaceful dialogue. The Libyan people themselves deserve nothing less. 


We therefore welcome the recent proposal by Special Advisor Williams to convene a joint committee from the House of Representatives and the High State Council.


We hope that the consensual constitutional basis envisaged by this committee can forge a pathway out of the current impasse. The destination is clear: the holding of credible, transparent and inclusive elections. The Libyan people have demonstrated clearly that they are ready to choose their own leaders. They should not be made to wait indefinitely to cast their vote at the ballot box.


Libyan women, like Dr. Shaiter, have every right to participate fully and safely in these elections, both as candidates and as voters. This is intrinsic to the goal of achieving inclusive, sustainable peace.


We call on all parties to engage in the joint committee process in good faith, to urgently nominate their representatives, and to cooperate fully with the Special Advisor.


Mr. President,


Full respect for the human rights of Libyans from all backgrounds is a real prerequisite for them to shape their own future of their own country. Weekly abductions and disappearances of journalists and civil society activists, as documented by UNSMIL, are deplorable. A free civic space is the centerpiece of a democracy; its protection is paramount.


Mr. President,


Just last week we all celebrated International Women’s Day. This regrettably coincided with the announcement by the Libyan authorities that they have suspended work on a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which was agreed in collaboration with UN Women only last year. Landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 highlights the crucial role played by women in building peaceful and inclusive democracies, and calls for special measures to protect women and girls from violence. We sincerely urge the authorities to re-consider the suspension of this work, which we believe remains vital to Libya’s peacebuilding efforts. 


We also deeply regret the lack of tangible progress in addressing the conditions faced by detainees, migrants and refugees, including many women and children, who are arbitrarily held in State and non-State operated facilities. Tragically, detainees continue to face heightened risks of sexual violence, including rape. We call on the Libyan authorities to urgently ramp up efforts to prevent these abuses and to end all practices of arbitrary detention. Furthermore, all allegations of sexual and gender-based violence as well as other abuses of human rights should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. It is essential that perpetrators are held accountable for such crimes.


We underscore that the vital work that is being undertaken by the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya is a critical step towards justice and accountability.


Finally, Mr. President,


We once again offer our full support to the efforts of the Special Advisor, who has been working tirelessly with the parties on the ground, and we look forward to the timely appointment of a Special Envoy, and the renewal of the Mission’s mandate next month, which is at a critical juncture on the path to peace in Libya. 


Thank you President.

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