Statement by Ambassador Kelly at the UN Security Council on Libya
Statement10 September 2021
I thank Special Envoy Kubiš for his briefing and Ambassador Tirumurti for his Report.
Let me also thank Ms Asma Khalifa for her powerful contribution. Asma, your insights and testimony have informed and enriched our discussion and your personal commitment to inclusive and enduring peace in Libya will inspire this Council. Your eloquent words on the need for depoliticised reconciliation resonate strongly with us on the island of Ireland.
This is a pivotal moment for Libya and its people. The Independent Strategic Review of UNSMIL paints a sobering picture of its challenges and constraints. Meeting these challenges will require leadership on the ground, and therefore, we support the Review’s recommendation to relocate the Head of Mission to Tripoli.
The holding of national Parliamentary and Presidential elections on 24 December is vital to a successful, Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political transition. We note that the House of Representatives recently passed a law allowing for Presidential elections, and we call on the relevant authorities to urgently resolve outstanding disagreements to ensure that parliamentary elections also take place on schedule.
Asma’s words to the Council today underline the indispensable role played by women, youth and broader civil society in building inclusive and peaceful communities. Seventeen members of the LPDF are women, and Ireland warmly welcomes their important contribution. We also welcome UNSMIL’s efforts to empower women further, including through assisting the Libyan Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the development of a National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security.
However, we are appalled at reports of violence targeted at politically active women, including human rights defenders, and we strongly condemn all such incidents. The Strategic Review’s recommendation to implement a surge capacity in UNSMIL’s gender advisory and human rights units must be implemented urgently – in particular the swift deployment of Women Protection Advisers.
Reports of Conflict Related Sexual Violence against women, including migrants in detention, are deeply disturbing. More must be done to combat these most heinous crimes. UNSMIL Human Rights officers must be able to carry out their critical work in safety and security, and have the resources necessary to combat all forms of sexual violence.
Ireland welcomed the opening of the Coastal Road on 30 July, and we look forward to the forthcoming deployment of the first UN ceasefire monitors to Libya, important steps in implementation of the Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism. The withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries, as stipulated by Resolution 2570, must be completed as soon as possible and in consultation with all stakeholders.
We are very concerned that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased this year, compounded by Covid 19. We are also concerned by reported visa backlogs for aid workers, whose work is crucial to providing humanitarian relief.
We call on the House of Representatives and the GNU to prioritise agreement of a national budget. This is vital for the provision of services, hampered further by fuel shortages and disruptions in water and electricity supply.
Finally, we continue to call for the upholding of International Human Rights Law, Refugee law, and International Humanitarian Law. Rule of law institutions and transitional justice mechanisms must be strengthened and human rights officers must not be constrained in their ability to move freely across the country and adequately monitor human rights violations.
Ireland unequivocally condemns the smuggling, trafficking and arbitrary detention in inhumane conditions of migrants and refugees, where they are at heightened risk of sexual violence and exploitation. We support the renewal of Resolution 2546 and commend Operation IRINI for its important work.