Libya. UN stresses need to accelerate progress towards national elections |
“The priority of the United Nations in Libya remains to facilitate a return to the electoral process, based on a sound and consensual constitutional basis for elections. This is what the Libyan people have asked for,” she said.
Elections are the only way to settle disagreements over the democratic legitimacy of Libyan institutions. I urge the leaders of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to agree on the outstanding issues so that the elections can take place as soon as possible. https://t.co/J0s6UwrlOO
— Rosemary A. DiCarlo (@DicarloRosemary) June 27, 2022
Ms DiCarlo welcomed recent progress following a final round of UN-facilitated consultations on the vote’s constitutional basis, which has been delayed since December.
Consensus and differences
The talks were held in Cairo, Egypt, and brought together representatives from two rival legislative chambers – the House of Representatives (HOR) in the east, and the High Council of State (HSC), based in the city of Tripoli, to the west. revisit a reformed constitution that charts the way to a democratic future for all Libyans.
Delegates reached broad consensus on most of the contentious articles of the 2017 constitutional proposal, although differences remain on the measures governing the transition period leading up to the elections.
Take the chance
The marked result “A step in the right direction”said Ms. DiCarlo, and the leaders will meet in Geneva this week to try to find a solution.
“I hope that the next meeting in Geneva between the heads of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State will lead to a final and applicable agreement which will lead to the elections as soon as possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, lingering political divisions are contributing to a tense security environment in and around Tripoli, resulting from the clash between two rivals who both claim to be the rightful prime minister.
The crisis erupted in March after the HoR chose a new government. However, the UN and internationally backed interim prime minister, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, refused to step down.
Fathi Bashagha, the choice of the eastern parliament, entered Tripoli supported by armed militias, causing clashes between their supporters.
Ms DiCarlo warned of the risk of escalation as armed groups continue to position themselves in favor of one man or the other, and reiterated her call for maximum restraint and dialogue.
Oil Shutdown Costs Billions
The political deadlock is also affecting the economy. Ms. DiCarlo indicated that the partial shutdown of the oil sector continues. Since mid-April, Libyan oil exports have fallen by a third, costing the country over $3 billion in lost revenue.
“Furthermore, the disagreement over the control and use of public funds that triggered the partial closure continues and could lead to further oil field closures in the short term,” she warned.
The Council also heard of the “alarming” human rights situation in Libya.
Erosion of civil space
Ms DiCarlo said nine civil society members and aid workers, who were arrested between November and February for exercising their right to free speech, remain in detention.
“I remain concerned that civic space is constantly being eroded. Arbitrary restrictions continue to be imposed on civil society organizations. Politically active women and men who defend human rights are the target of hate speech and incitement to violence, compromising their safety and security,” she told the ambassadors.
The UN Mission in the country, UNSMIL, has also received reports of serious allegations of torture against Libyans, migrants and asylum seekers in detention centers and prisons.
Ms. DiCarlo stressed that authorities must investigate all allegations of torture and other violations, and hold those responsible accountable.
She further called for extending the mandate of an independent fact-finding mission to investigate and report on violations.