Period of Time and Topic: This report covers the main findings of a review of the United Nations presence in Libya, conducted in close partnership with Libyan authorities and in consultation with regional and international partners, and provides recommendations for the reconfiguration of the UN presence in Libya to adjust to the new realities on the ground.
Women, Peace and Security
This special report of the Secretary-General provides an overview of the findings of the strategic assessment of the United Nations presence in Libya, conducted in close partnership with Libyan authorities and regional and international partners, and provides recommendations for the reconfiguration of the presence to adjust to the new violent realities on the ground. The report only provides five WPS references, excluding explicit references to women and civil society in key priority areas for both Libya and the United Nations, including ending the conflict, completing the transitional process, maintaining/restoring essential services, and protection. WPS is not mentioned in the Recommendations and/or Observation sections of the report, which are critical sections for shaping future developments of the mission in Libya. References to women center mainly on their protection; however, the report does not offer any analysis on the interaction between gender and conflict. The report also does not provide any sex disaggregated data. Most alarmingly, the report fails to make any reference to on-going sexual and gender based violence.
Note: As a special report on the strategic assessment, the Secretary-General’s report is not required to report on the gender provisions of the mandate. As such, this analysis will not cite the reporting gaps of the mandate. In addition, the sections of analysis for this report are taken from the Secretary-General’s report, rather than, reflecting the mandate components.
Context and Factors of Instability
The report notes that women have been “particularly affected” by the escalation of the conflict, and those women “visibly engaging in public affairs” have been increasingly targeted. In addition, political activists, human rights defenders, and media professionals of “both genders” have been increasingly threatened and killed. These references could have been improved by providing sex-disaggregated data to give greater insight into how women are being disproportionately targeted as well as to show how the number of threats, casualties, or injuries have escalated since July 2014. Similarly, the report could have provided information on specific incidents of violence to illustrate the targeted nature of these attacks and highlight the kinds of violence women are experiencing in Libya. The report also misses an opportunity to identify the targeting of women as “gender-based violence”and cite such violence as a violation of women’s human rights in Libya. Further, the report provides no analysis for why women are specifically targeted, despite citing a plethora of factors of sectarian violence. Women are also absent from the discussion of weak security sector, increasing weapons capabilities, the absence of an effective judicial system, and Libya’s oil-dependent economy. As such, the report provides no analysis on the link between violence against women and drivers of conflict. Insights into women’s protection concerns are critical to understand to maximize the chances of success of the UN presence, particularly with protection and security for civilians outlined as key priority for the UN.
Priority Areas for Libya
The report identifies four priorities for Libyan authorities for the next two years to resume its democratic transition and set the basis for long-term stability, which include ending the conflict, completing the transition process, maintaining (and restoring) essential services, and moving towards a stable and democratic state. The first three priorities are cited as a means to “bring Libya back to a state of relative normalcy,”while the fourth priority is cited as the means by which to sustain long-term stability. With regard to these four priorities, the report makes only one reference WPS stating an “independent media and active civil society essential to achieving”a stable and democratic state in Libya. This reference could have been improved if active civil society also cited the inclusion of women’s organizations and called upon the Libyan government to prioritize civil society participation in all transitional processes.
The report misses an opportunity to identify women’s protection and women’s participation as an essential component of all four priorities. For priority number one, the report should have identified stopping the egregious violations against women’s human rights as a main prerogative of Libyan authorities and called for main parities of the conflict to ensure women’s participation in all efforts to reach an agreement on ceasefire. For priority number two, the report should have called for the participation and consultation of women and civil society, including women’s organizations, in all transitional processes and requested their support in designing, implementing, and monitoring all such processes. And finally, for the third priority, women’s reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health services should be among those “essential services” to be maintained and restored. Services for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence should also have been identified. Overall, the Secretary-General “priority areas for Libya” is gender blind, missing key opportunities to follow-up on identified women’s protection concerns within the section on the factors of stability.
United Nations Strategic Priority Areas
The report identifies five priorities areas for the United Nations presence, which include support to the political process, protection, support to key institutions, support for the provision of essential services, and coordination. References to WPS are only included in the discussion of the first priority, support to political process. The report advocates for a continued UN-facilitated dialogue process that engaged “political parties, civil society, tribal forces, municipalities, and armed groups” with the objective of reaching a broad consensus that bolsters support for a political agreement and a “conducive environment” for national reconciliation.” In addition, the report notes that the UN presence will need to maintain expertise on a variety of issues, including “gender.” The report misses an opportunity to cite women and women’s organizations as a key stakeholder in the Un-Dialogue process. The report also should have respect for women’s human rights as a key provision of dialogue. In addition, gender expertise should not only be maintained within the UN presence, but gender should be adopted as a cross-cutting issue in all Un action in Libya. The report also misses the opportunity to identify where such gender expertise should be leveraged to ensure women’s participation, such as appointing female negotiators and mediation experts and/or facilitating regular consultation with women’s organizations to ensure their input into formal processes and agreements.
In regards to protection, the report misses the opportunity to identify women’s protection as a key priority. The report identifies that the UN presence should continue to give high priority to human rights monitoring, reporting, and advocacy as well as securing weapons and clearing explosive remnants of war. The references to human rights monitoring should have specifically called for monitoring of violations against women, including sexual and gender based violence. In addition, the report should have called for enhanced, systematic reporting on the impacts of arms trafficking on both genders. Further, given the systematic targeting of women, gender advisers and women’s protection advisers should be among the limited UN staff deployed to Libya.
In support for the provision of essential services, the report calls for continued UN support to health and education services and maintenance of access of food, electricity, water, sanitation and justice to vulnerable groups. The report misses an opportunity to advocate for women’s access to essential service and call for gender-specific humanitarian aid.
Finally, in support of key institutions, the report supports the United Nations continued work on the Constitutional Drafting Assembly, the High National Electoral Commission and the National Council on Civil Liberties and Human Rights. The report misses an opportunity to request the UN presence to ensure women’s participation in all of these political process. In addition, the report should have called upon the UN to provide formal and regular consultations with Libyan women to ensure their input on these formal processes.
Despite the recommendation to drawdown the mission and to focus UN activities on a limited list of tasks based on the identified priorities, UNSMIL must continue to prioritize and advocate for women’s protection and women’s participation at all levels of conflict resolution, the political process, institution-building, and provision of services. The mission must continue to urge accountability for ongoing crimes against women, including SGBV, and investigate and monitor violations of women’s human rights, including violations of sexual and gender based violence. All UN activities in Libya should systematically engage civil society, including women’s organizations, as consultants and participants in humanitarian and political processes. Support to essential services should require gender-sensitive provision and must include women’s reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health services. Finally, in all UN priorities for Libya gender should be adopted as a cross-cutting issue.
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 3
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 9
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 5, 7, 8, 10, 12
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 6, 7
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 8
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 9, 10
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 12
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 27-28
 S/2015/113 (2015) para. 19
 S/2015/113 para. 25
 S/2015/113 para. 26
 S/2015/113 para. 27
 S/2015/113 para. 28
 S/2015/113 para. 31