LIBYA: Libya Urged to Adopt UN Report on Violence Against Women

Monday, March 25, 2013
Libya Initiative
Northern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Several Libyan organisations fighting for women's rights held a demo on Thursday morning against deteriorating human rights situation of women in the country.

Gathered in front of the headquarters of the Council of Ministers, the protesters denounced high rate of persecution, violence, harassment, kidnapping and rape of women.

Hajer El Gaied, Asthma Sreiba and Najat Baiu, three women members of Human Rights Committee of the General National Congress participated in the demonstration.

The protest was held just a few days after the Grand Mufti Sheikh Ghariani issued fatwa against a UN report on violence against woman.

The UN's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) urged governments to protect women and girls from violence.

The Grand Mufti Ghariani had asked all women to strike against the UN on 15th March 2013 when the 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women was scheduled.

His call led to a demo in front of the UN headquarters against UN interference.

Libyan women, however, took to the streets a day earlier, to protest against widespread violence in the country.

The Grand Mufti had said that UN's report on women and their responsibility of their sexual lives was wrong.

According to the UN report, if a man forces her wife to have sex against her wish, then that's rape. “How could they even say that? He is still her husband,” the Grand Mufti said, adding that “The man has responsibility over the entire family and has the right to rule the family, according to Islamic rules”.

He warned that Libya risked falling into chaos should the country approve even one part of the UN report.

However, the Libyan women gathered in front of the headquarters of Council of Ministries called for faster approval of the UN report.

A 20 year old woman taking part in the demo said: “The Grand Mufti said that if a husband forces his wife to have sex, it cannot be considered an abuse as the UN holds because she belongs to him.” She then raised her voice unconsciously: “It is an abuse!”

The women warned against interference in their personal freedom.

They also asked the authorities to use severe punishment as a deterrent to all forms of violence against women.

They further demanded for creation of a competent authority to deal with cases of domestic and social violence.

The women protesters handed over a copy of the UN report to the Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Abdul Salam.

Libyan Press Agency LANA reported that he listened to the women and agreed to hold a meeting with them to discuss their demands.