Libya was once scorned over the 1988 bombing of a PanAm plane above the Scottish town of Lockerbie, underwent a dramatic rehabilitation after taking formal responsibility for the bombing in 2003. However, the UN lifted sanctions, and Libya's subsequent renunciation of weapons of mass destruction further improved relations with the West.
The International Community once again turned against the Libyan government in early 2011 over its hostile response to popular uprisings inspired by anti-authoritarian protests that swept Arab countries. Several leaders urged Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to step down, and the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya and air strikes to protect civilians.
Gaddafi and his forces faces serious allegations of targeting women, using violence against women in retaliation for protesting against the government and using rape as a weapon of war.
Following Gaddafi's removal and subsequent death in 2011, Libya has been administered by the Transitional National Council, with government and presidential elections expected to be held in June 2012 (CIA Factbook, 2012). The Transitional National Council was recognised by the UN General Assembly in September 2011 as being the legitimate governing authority in Libya.
Although women played a significant role in bringing about the transition to democracy in Libya, concerns remain about the ability of women to access key roles in the reconstruction and peacebuilding phase.