Security Council

The situation in Libya- Security Council, 8952nd Meeting

Newly created road map committee aims to advance electoral process, stability in Libya, as country faces fragile juncture, Under-Secretary-General tells Security Council.
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Continued Abuse of Migrants, Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders Draws Concern

Libya’s newly established road map committee aims at advancing the electoral process following postponed December 2021 elections and moving the nation along the path towards stability, United Nations and civil society briefers told the Security Council today.

Shortcomings in the legal framework and contradictory court rulings on candidates were among the reasons triggering the postponement of the 24 December 2021 elections, said Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in a briefing on recent developments. As a result, the House of Representatives decided to draft a Constitution within one month and established a road map committee that is defining a timetable and process for elections and is delivering a report to Parliament today, she explained.

Libya is at a delicate and fragile juncture, and it is critical that positive steps are nurtured, she said. Humanitarian gains led to a shrinking number of people in need of assistance in 2021, and dialogue among stakeholders has advanced economic, security and political goals over the past year. Talks are advancing on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and the ceasefire is holding, with the recent deployment of the second group of monitors from the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Yet, human rights concerns persist among migrants, refugees and detainees, and the inhumane conditions they endure, she said, also stressing that insecurity and tensions threaten to undermine gains and jeopardize successful elections. Citing the words of many Libyans, she said the way forward is through the ballot box and not the gun.

Representing civil society, Elham Saudi, Director of Lawyers for Justice Libya, highlighted several grave concerns. Libya’s crackdown on civil society groups, especially those working on human rights and peacebuilding, include members having been threatened, disappeared, tortured and killed. In addition, human rights defenders and women exercising their right to participate in political or public life have been targeted. “The Council, as well as Member States who have been supporting Libyan parties, must demand the protection of Libya’s civil society,” she said. Underlining the need to mainstream human rights, she said that, without doing so, UNSMIL sacrifices the rights of Libyans in pursuit of unsustainable and short-sighted notions of political progress. Structural mechanisms applying more oversight of the Mission’s activities must be worked into future iterations of its mandate.

Looking forward, she said elections must be rooted in a clear, unpoliticized and thus incontestably legitimate legal basis. She warned against focusing merely on an early date for holding elections, and not a clear process to facilitate them. A mediation process that results in lessons learned from Libya’s last few years should focus on creating milestones, including the requirements for an electoral law, a code for conduct and a constitutional basis that sequences presidential and legislative elections. She urged the Council to support an electoral process rooted in a legitimate legislative and Constitutional framework, and which identifies and pursues steps needed to create a secure and conducive environment for Libya’s elections.

Rounding up the briefings, T.S. Tirumurti (India), in his capacity as Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, provided updates on its recent activities related to asset freezes, arms embargoes and travel bans.

When the floor opened, Council members agreed that elections must be held soon in order to advance progress and national reconciliation. Kenya’s delegate, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, emphasized that national reconciliation and dialogue are key to lasting peace, stressing that: “We look at the intervention by external forces as complicating the chances for peace, not increasing them.” Given the profound insecurity in the Sahel and West Africa, due to the collapse of security and order in Libya, he underlined the need for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, especially in light of the accumulation and flow of sophisticated weaponry and illicit arms in the region from foreign origins. Like other members, he welcomed UNSMIL efforts, expressing support for a longer mandate renewal.

Many Council members agreed that elections will be the start of a new era. Albania’s representative said there can be no alternative to holding credible elections in Libya, adding that: “Those who stand in the way and deny the right of Libyans to hold elections must be held accountable.” In a similar vein, France’s delegate called on Libyan actors to agree on a timeline to reschedule elections. Indeed, the electoral process has allowed for remarkable progress over the last year, but the absence of electoral prospects could lead to further insecurity and instability, he said, suggesting instead that elections can achieve the long-sought goal of restoring peace in Libya, and the Sanctions Committee must list any individual or entity obstructing the electoral process.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the pause on the political track has slowed progress in other such areas as the economy and the military. Still, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission agreed to a withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries, he said, adding that the Russian Federation continues to support these efforts, which must involve Libya and related stakeholders. Regarding UNSMIL, he said its mandate must reflect the current goals of the Libyan peace process and that Security Council members must adopt a flexible approach in this regard.

Libya’s representative said all voices must be heard with a view to reaching a national consensus on, among other things, electoral laws to ensure a successful process. Calling on the Council to support genuine efforts to overcome existing challenges, he said anticipated that it will play a more active role going forward. National reconciliation and justice processes are essential, he said, renewing the call for African Union support in this regard. Libya must now build from its history and stop arguing over negative actions, while working together towards stability and peace, he said, adding that the nation and its people will recover and return stronger than before.

Also speaking were representatives of the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Brazil, India, Mexico, China, United States and Norway.

The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:51 a.m.

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