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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.

Briefings

ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said growing polarization among political actors resulted in the postponement of the 24 December 2021 elections, with the High National Commission for Elections citing such reasons as shortcomings in the legal framework and contradictory court rulings on candidacies. As a result, the House of Representatives decided to draft a Constitution within one month, with support from regional and international experts, and established a road map committee that is defining a timetable and process for elections and is delivering a report to Parliament today. The Special Advisor to the Secretary-General is working with national, regional and international stakeholders, including the Russian Federation, Tunisia, Turkey and the African Union, among others. Discussions in the House of Representatives and among political actors is also focusing on the status of the Government of National Unity, she said, adding that the Special Adviser stressed that it is critical for the international community to remain united in its support for the timely holding of presidential and parliamentary elections.

Highlighting other recent developments, she said ongoing dialogue has addressed a range of concerns, including security-related discussions among the military and armed groups and steps towards addressing challenges facing the Central Bank of Libya. These are welcomed developments, as are renewed efforts to advance national reconciliation, she said. The ceasefire has continued to hold, however tensions leading up to the planned elections have led to insecurity. At the same time, unfulfilled demands made to the Government of National Unity by the Petroleum Facilities Guards led to an oil production shutdown between late December 2021 and early January 2022. The 5+5 Joint Military Commission held talks in Ankara and Moscow to address the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries. Meanwhile, the second group of ceasefire monitors from the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has been dispatched.

Turning to the worrisome human rights situation, she said reports include attacks against journalists, violence based on political affiliation and social media rhetoric, which are erecting obstacles towards free, fair, peaceful and credible elections. Detainees and the inhumane conditions they face remain another concern, including undocumented children and women in detention, she said, noting that Libyan authorities reported that more than 12,000 people are being held in 27 prisons and other facilities. Similarly, migrants and refugees face inhumane and degrading conditions with restricted humanitarian assistance. The United Nations remains ready to work with Libyan authorities on a long-term national response to migration and refugee management, including related human rights concerns, she said.

Pleased to report improvements in the overall humanitarian situation in 2021, she said the United Nations recorded a 36 per cent decrease in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, from 1.3 million to 803,000. Of the 278,000 Libyans internally displaced one year ago, about 100,000 people returned home in 2021. Yet, displaced persons and returnees still face obstacles, including a lack of basic services. While the humanitarian response plan focuses on the most vulnerable, it requires more funding. Libya is at a delicate and fragile juncture, and it is critical that positive steps are nurtured, she said, adding that, as many Libyans have said, the way forward is through the ballot box and not the gun.

T.S. TIRUMURTI (India), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, provided updates on recent activities during the period of 25 November 2021 to 24 January 2022. Noting that the Committee’s 2021 annual report is available in document S/2021/1058, he said the period’s activities included two informal meetings and additional work conducted by silent procedure. During informal consultations, the members heard a presentation by the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts on its interim report, which highlights aspects related to implementing the travel ban, asset freezes, arms embargo and measures related to illicit petroleum exports. Members also held informal consultations in response to a communication received from the Libyan Investment Authority, including an interactive discussion whereby members emphasized the importance of preserving the integrity and value of the frozen assets for the benefit of the Libyan people.

He outlined other such activities as the receipt of an arms‑embargo-related vessel inspection report from the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy military operation in the Mediterranean, EUNAVFOR Med Operation Irini, and two notifications related to the assets freeze from Bahrain. With regard to the travel‑ban measure, the Committee extended for a second time a six-month exemption request for humanitarian purposes to three individuals — Safia Farkash al-Barassi, Aisha al-Qadhafi and Mohammed al-Qadhafi — and is considering a response to a letter from Libya pertaining to an exemption for Abu Zayd Umar Dorda. Concerning the sanctions list, the Committee received a third communication from the de‑listing focal point established pursuant to resolution 1730 (2006).

ELHAM SAUDI, Director of Lawyers for Justice Libya, described herself as a Libyan woman, mother, lawyer and human rights defender who has been working for peace and justice in Libya for over a decade. Recalling that Lawyers for Justice travelled across the country speaking with Libyans about their aspirations for the national Constitution in 2012, she said they undertook a similar consultation in 2021. “Much remained the same — a desire for peace, a determination to achieve lasting reconciliation and a Constitution that protects human rights and prevents a return to dictatorship,” she said. However, some things had changed, with perceptions of justice becoming more urgent and accountability for war crimes and human rights violations now a paramount demand.

Recalling that, in the last few years, the parties in Tripoli reached a ceasefire and a unity Government was appointed, she said the drafting of a road map for elections is also under way. While valuable, that progress is also reversible as long as impunity for so-called “spoilers” prevails. When they take place, 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 learns lessons 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 in line with a broader road map for the newly elected authorities to conclude Libya's transitional period effectively.

Stressing that accountability is a prerequisite to political progress, she said weak vetting criteria for candidates in the 2021 delayed elections resulted in individuals implicated in corruption, war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations — including several indicted by the International Criminal Court — being accepted as candidates. She emphasized the crucial role being played by the Court, as well as recent cases that demonstrate the impact of States themselves in exercising universal jurisdiction over universal crimes. In the case of Libya, there is an imperative on States to consider all perpetrators, whether from Libya or not and whether operating from Libya or outside it. Sanctions — which have so far been the only direct consequence for a few perpetrators of human rights violations — must be applied transparently and consistently, but do not provide victims with redress or reparations.

She described Libya’s crackdown on civil society groups, especially those working on human rights and peacebuilding, noting that members of civil society have been threatened, disappeared, tortured and killed. “The Council, as well as Member States who have been supporting Libyan parties, must demand the protection of Libya’s civil society,” she said, emphasizing that human rights defenders and women exercising their right to participate in political or public life have been targeted. 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 UNSMIL’s activities must be worked into future iterations of its mandate.

Against that backdrop, 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. Members must demand accountability of all parties to the conflict, including third States, foreign fighters and mercenaries, including by providing support to the International Criminal Court and by facilitating domestic universal jurisdiction investigations in States. They must also apply sanctions fairly, transparently and consistently; protect Libyan women and civil society; and adopt and implement the recommendations of UNSMIL’s independent strategic review in order to ensure the Mission’s effectiveness and ability to deliver on its mandate.

Statements

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said that moving forward hinges on addressing the challenges which prevented elections from going ahead in December. Also vital is continued support for UNSMIL’s work to bring together the political, security and economic tracks in support of Libya’s stability, sovereignty and national unity, which is why the United Kingdom has proposed a draft resolution to renew its mandate. Reiterating the call for the full, equal and meaningful inclusion of women and youth in the peace and wider political process, he noted that, while approximately 1 million of the 2.8 million registered voters are female, only 2 women were among 98 individuals who registered to stand in the presidential elections planned for December 2021. A process that represents only half the population is not a sustainable or inclusive one, and women must be able to participate as both candidates and voters without fear of reprisals or intimidation. It is more important than ever before that international actors withdraw all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without further delay, he stressed, also welcoming the Joint Military Commission’s Action Plan as an important initial step. It is now incumbent on all to support its implementation, he said, encouraging further progress on a plan to monitor and verify the presence and withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries.

MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said there is now an opportunity to achieve security and stability in Libya. Stressing there is no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement, he welcomed all Libyan-led efforts to achieve this aim and commended the United Nations for supporting the political outcomes of the second Berlin conference and the conclusions of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. However, recent events have delayed presidential and parliamentary elections. “We respect Libyan decisions,” he said, expressing hope this would help address the root causes of election postponement in a manner that meets people’s aspirations. He called on all parties and local actors to engage in dialogue, with a view to reaching a national consensus built on procedural and legal election rules, and to abide by their results. In that context, he stressed the need to ensure the full, fair and equal participation of Libyan women and young people.

Noting the pivotal work carried out by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, he called for ensuring implementation of the signed action plan on the withdrawal of forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries in a simultaneous, phased, gradual and balanced manner. He welcomed the communication and coordination mechanism, agreed upon by the Committee and Libya’s neighbours, to support this plan, and looked forward to the Military Commission playing its constructive and consensual role on this important track. A focus on the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries must be maintained, given its importance for the security track and potential to reflect positively on the political track. It will also help combat cross-border terrorism and armed groups, and control illegal migration. He welcomed the 11 December 2021 Sirte meeting aimed at unifying military and security institutions and integrating armed formations, reiterating full support to UNSMIL, commending its role in mediating various Libyan-led security initiatives, and calling on the Mission to respect the importance of a balanced approach that prioritizes all areas in Libya.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said that, at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in 2020, participants representing the full spectrum of society committed to a road map leading to democratic, inclusive and credible national elections. Since then, 2.8 million Libyans have registered to vote. She called on all stakeholders to address the underlying issues that have held back electoral progress, and to swiftly commit to holding free, fair and inclusive elections as soon as possible. As women have been repeatedly failed by all actors in Libya, she called for their full, equal and meaningful participation and the inclusion of youth in all areas of the political, economic and security sectors. She went on to commend progress in implementing the 2020 ceasefire, calling the deployment of the first monitors of that agreement in October 2021 “an essential step forward”. She called for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries — which will require consultations with Libya’s neighbours, and a United Nations‑supervised, gender-responsive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. She also called for supporting the work of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, urging authorities to seek alternatives to detaining child migrants and refugees.

MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya), also speaking on behalf of Gabon and Ghana, said they were joined with Libya by bonds of geography and fraternity, as well as by profound insecurity in the Sahel and West Africa, due to the collapse of security and order in Libya. Africa’s position that national reconciliation and dialogue are key to lasting peace in Libya remains unchanged, he said stressing: “We look at the intervention by external forces as complicating the chances for peace, not increasing them.” Free, fair and inclusive elections, based on the Libyan Political Forum Road Map, and which deliver an outcome of political legitimacy in every part of the country, are essential, with the United Nations providing sufficient technical support. He encouraged the African Union to bolster its support for national reconciliation and the Secretary-General to involve high‑level African representatives. He called for the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement including the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries and corresponding security sector reforms; implementing the 5+5 Joint Military Commission Action Plan; and for UNSMIL to ensure this is carried out in coordination with the neighboring States, other affected States and relevant regional mechanisms.

Noting the accumulation and flow of sophisticated weaponry and illicit small arms and light weapons into Libya and the Sahel region from foreign origins, he highlighted the need for corresponding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, and for strengthening the capacity of Libya and neighboring countries to tackle the growing threat of cross-border terrorism. Condemning the abhorrent treatment faced by migrants and refugees on the way to Europe — and the interception of migrants at sea and their return to Libya — he called on the international community to address the root causes of the migration, and to uphold the human rights of the African migrants. He welcomed UNSMIL’s important work, particularly efforts to support the inclusion of women and youth in the peace process, which is essential for reconstruction, adding: “We, therefore, support the renewal of the UNSMIL mandate for a substantial period to enable the Mission to fully focus on the critical assignment at hand.”

JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) expressed concerned about the postponement of Libya’s presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2021, which jeopardize strides made by the country over years. Free, fair and inclusive elections must take place with guarantees that their results will be respected and alongside the drafting of a constitutional framework that preserves the balance between Libyan political forces, ensures the participation of women and furthers stability. Also voicing concern over the continued destabilizing effects of the presence of mercenaries and other foreign combatants, he welcomed the announced withdrawal of 300 foreign fighters from the east of the country and called for the return of all remaining forces to their countries of origin. In addition, he said, the human rights situation in Libya remains unsettling amid frequent reports of violations, especially among migrants and refugees, and cannot go unpunished.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania) welcomed efforts by the Acting Special Adviser, Stephanie Williams, in steering the political process in Libya over the last few weeks. Calling for the implementation of the strategic review of UNSMIL as the Council considers the Mission’s renewal, he said there can be no alternative to holding credible elections in Libya. “Those who stand in the way and deny the right of Libyans to hold elections must be held accountable,” he stressed, urging all stakeholders to support the Libyan people in overcoming their decade-long crisis. The 2020 ceasefire must continue to hold, and the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries should be seen as important confidence-building measures. Describing the human right situation in Libya as deplorable, he said use of sexual violence against women and girls, as well as arbitrary detention and other crimes, must not be tolerated and those responsible for such acts must be held to account. He also voiced concern about new evidence of child recruitment, children detained in harsh conditions and abuses committed against refugee and migrant children.

Mr. TIRUMURTI (India) echoed expressions of regret that Libya’s 2021 elections were not held, as well as over the resurgence in terrorist activities and violations of Libya’s arms embargo. It is incumbent on the international community to provide the necessary support to ensure that political process achieved so far does not erode. Emphasizing that the most important priority is to hold elections in a free, fair and credible manner, he stressed that Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must also be upheld with no external interference in the Libyan-owned peace process. In addition, the Libyan parties’ calls for the full withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries from the country must be honoured. The international community should focus its attention on the threat of terrorism in the Sahel region, he stressed, adding that terrorist groups cannot be allowed to operate unchallenged. Spotlighting UNSMIL’s critical role, he pledged to work towards the Mission’s renewal and expressed India’s firm support for the Libyan people.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) urged all parties to agree as soon as possible on a new, viable date for elections within the 18-month time frame established by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. Praising UNSMIL’s role, he said Mexico is in favour or renewing the Mission’s mandate for another year. Regrettably, the vacuum of leadership in Libya continues to have a high human cost, with vast numbers of migrants falling victim to abuse and Libyan women suffering high levels of violence. UNSMIL’s capacities must therefore be strengthened in order to better protect those who are most vulnerable, he said, questioning whether the Mission currently has sufficient resources. He went on to reiterate Mexico’s appeal for the Libyan parties to implement measures for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of militias, adding that all States must comply with the arms embargo, foreign fighters must leave Libya and weapons proliferation must be urgently addressed.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), calling on Libyan actors to agree on a timeline to reschedule elections, expressed support for the work of the High National Elections Commission. 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. Instead, 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. Voicing support for the process to withdraw foreign mercenaries, steered and led by Libya in coordination with UNSMIL and actors in the region, he encouraged the United Nations to support this work through its ceasefire mechanism, among other activities. France will remain vigilant regarding implementation of sanctions. Only a unified Government can address such pressing concerns as the plight of migrants and border security, he said, encouraging UNSMIL to, among other things, strengthen its protection activities in accordance with its mandate. At this decisive moment in Libya, he called for Council members to consider a Mission renewal and to preserve the spirit of unity that characterized the Paris Conference in November 2021.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation), citing the outcome document of the Paris Conference, said holding elections must not be delayed, with all stakeholders permitted to participate. In addition, Libya should resolve any outstanding election-related issues. Due to the pause on the political track, progress has slowed in other such areas as the economy and the military. Opposing sides have not taken any steps to resolve issues that could escalate tensions. 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 the Secretary-General must present proposals for candidates to lead the Mission, whose mandate must reflect the current goals of the Libyan peace process. At this point, Security Council members must adopt a flexible approach, he said.

XING JISHENG (China), noting the steady advancement of political transition, said Libya is currently working on a new election plan following the postponement of December 2021’s planned vote. Pointing out that elections in post-conflict settings often face challenges, he urged all the parties to continue to negotiate in good faith and called for UNSMIL to provide support in line with its mandate. Meanwhile, all States should withdraw their foreign fighters and mercenaries in a safe and gradual manner and in close coordination with neighbouring countries in order to avoid possible spill-over effects. Welcoming the launch of a process to pursue unified central banking in Libya, as well as the launch of a national reconciliation commission, he went on to note that Libya has repeatedly voiced concerns over the loss of its frozen assets and called on the Council to consider that matter with urgency.

JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States), noting that more than 2.8 million Libyans have registered to vote, declared: “It is time for their will to be respected.” Those vying to lead the country must see that the people will only tolerate so much delay and will only accept democratically elected leadership. Welcoming that the Libyan Dialogue Forum Road Map remains in place, he said UNSMIL should continue to provide support for its implementation and Libyan political candidates and parties must comply with its terms. If needed, the Council can and must target election spoilers with sanctions and other measures. Welcoming the initial deployment of UNSMIL ceasefire monitors who are beginning their work, he looked forward to that unit’s full operationalization and called on all parties to withdraw foreign fighters and mercenaries in line with resolutions 2570 (2021) and 2571 (2021). Meanwhile, the Libyan authorities must close illicit detention centres and allow unhindered humanitarian access, he said, looking forward to a renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate that gives the Mission the tools it needs to support the Libyan people.

TRINE SKARBOEVIK HEIMERBACK (Norway), Council President for January, spoke in her national capacity, regretting that the elections were not carried out on 24 December 2021. “This should not detract from a political transition in Libya,” she stressed, strongly encouraging the political actors to continue steps towards the transfer of power to democratically elected institutions and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as possible. “With 2.8 million Libyans having registered as voters, their expectation to have a say in the future of Libya is clear. Free, fair and inclusive elections are imperative for Libya’s progress,” she said. She urged the relevant Libyan authorities to prepare for elections in a constructive manner and the parties to agree on a road map towards a new election date, warning: “It is imperative that we don’t let spoilers create alternative undemocratic tracks.” The equal participation of women as both voters and candidates is crucial to the democratic process and the Government’s legitimacy. Also important is creating an enabling environment for peacebuilders, human rights defenders and civil society to safely carry out their work. Concerned about the reported lack of protection of civilians and continuing violations of the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, she also pointed to the “highly worrying” situation of people held in unlawful and arbitrary detention, especially the reported continued incidents of sexual violence and abuse of children, and called for their immediate release. She expressed hope the Council could agree on a substantial resolution to renew UNSMIL’s mandate for one year.

TAHER M. T. ELSONNI (Libya) said that almost 100 presidential candidates and nearly 5,000 parliamentarian candidates point to the willingness for elections, including 2.8 million registered voters. A national and constitutional framework was lacking then and is now needed to conduct successful elections. To avoid a political vacuum, the authorities agreed to hand over power to an elected party. All voices must be heard with a view to reaching a national consensus on, among other things, electoral laws to ensure a successful process. The United Nations must also lend its support, he said, calling on the Council to support genuine efforts to overcome existing challenges. Libyan leadership and ownership are essential, he said, highlighting the Joint Military Committee meetings and talks aimed at ending any foreign presence on Libyan territory. Without this, Libya will continue to be occupied, he stressed, emphasizing that all military forces on the ground must actively support nation building and the rule of law.

Anticipating that the Council will play a more active role going forward, he raised concerns that some parties are trying to push Libya in the direction of instability. National reconciliation and justice processes are essential, he said, renewing the call for African Union support in this regard. Highlighting several positive steps, he said social media platforms are hosting discussions among youth. Looking ahead, 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.

For information media. Not an official record.