Libyan experts review draft law on combating violence against women

Tripoli: Libyan experts have held a discussion to review a draft law on combating violence against women in the war-torn country, the Tripoli-based UN mission said.

In a statement on Sunday, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said a group of lawyers, judges, activists and human rights defenders met in Tunis from June 16-18 “to review the draft law on Combating Violence Against Women, reports Xinhua news agency.

The draft law aims to criminalise all forms of violence against women, including cyber violence and online hate speech, and to identify protection and prevention mechanisms as well as define institutional responsibilities, said the statement.

The draft further proposes creating a national commission to combat violence against women and a dedicated trust fund to support victims, it said.

 The draft represents a milestone in the protection and promotion of the rights of all women and girls in Libya, in line with international standards and regional best practices, said the statement.

“The 2021 draft will serve to transform the culture of violence against women and girls in Libya. “It is the first major step in a long process that requires the draft to be enshrined and fully implemented, ultimately paving the way for the advancement of women’s rights in Libya,” said UNSMIL chief Jan Kubis.

As of March this year, the UNSMIL has verified 27 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution, perpetrated against 23 women, three men and one girl, all of whom were migrants or asylum seekers.

The UN mission says that “underreporting remains a challenge, stemming from a fear of reprisals, intimidation, stigma and social norms related to honour and shame”.

In May, UNSMIL documented two incidents of kidnapping and rape, including gang rape by armed men, of asylum seekers from the Sudan and Eritrea, one of whom was three months pregnant.