Libyan Women Activists Issue Declaration after Tunis Gathering

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Libyan Women Activists Issue Declaration after Tunis Gathering

The culmination of 3 days of intensive discussions during “Libyan Women Between Hope and Reality” conference 

January 16, 2016, Tunis – On the third and final day of the “Libyan Women Between Hope and Reality” Conference delegates, representing every part of Libyan society, issued a declaration based upon the previous sessions, which focused on changing the role and image of Libyan women in a male dominated society wracked by civil strife and violence. 

The day began with contributions from representatives of the U.S., British and Italian governments, expressing solidarity with the aims of Libyan women for equality in all aspects of social, political and economic life of the country. This session was followed by the delivery of the declaration.

“Most of the delegates who attended the conference knew little or nothing of the constitutional process or the substance of the constitutional drafts,” said Mohamed Htewish, Director of Libya Institute for Advanced Studies, which organized the event. “The sessions on judicial issues and the making of the constitution were an eye-opener for many of the women, who realized that their rights were being compromised by an overwhelmingly male constitutional assembly. The conference declaration is a wake up call to Libyan woman to demand their rights during this decisive transitional period.”

The declaration was recited to the delegates by a series of participants in the form of a series of demands.

We Libyan delegates participating in the Libyan Conference for Peace between the 14th and 16th of January, declare our overall willingness to be active participants in the construction of future Libya, and accordingly we highly recommend members of the Constitutional committee to bear all professional and loyal responsibility in fulfilling the following:

  1.  Respect legal deadline for submission of final draft of the constitution for referendum and adoption;
  2.  Apply feminine form in all articles and chapters with no gender segregation;
  3. Verbalize all women rights as related to international conventions, laws and outcomes;
  4. Explicitly mention the right of women to participate in all political, economic and social roles, with a minimum quota of 30 per cent;
  5. Create an independent committee for women whose role is to secure and legalize women rights;
  6. Re-write articles 7 and 151 in light of international conventions and legalizations;
  7. Review article 117 from the current draft by deleting the expression “women are sisters to men”, and adding instead the obligation of the state to impose the participation of women in all higher positions. Added to this, impose on the committee the duty to revise all preceding articles and draft via the election of an independent ‘women committee’ in order to secure women rights and uplift their social and cultural status;
  8. Review article 31 as follows: “The state has to afford all social and financial needs to help parents balance between domestic and professional life;”
  9. Constitutional committee has to forbid by law any type of gender discrimination from the chapter “On Rights and Liberties.”
  10. Revise article 119 by changing “spinsters” to “women lacking a family provider;” and oblige the state accordingly to provide these women with housing and financial aid to secure their dignity. 

“The moral strength, intelligence and intense enthusiasm of the delegates to this remarkable event, demonstrates how critical the participation of women in both the constitutional and peace-building process is,” said Htewish. “This is the first of a series of initiatives Libya Institute for Advanced Studies is taking to ensure that Libyan women play an ever greater role in bringing the country back from the brink.”

The “Libyan Women Between Hope and Reality” Conference was organized by Libya Institute for Advanced Studies in association with The Free Communications Organization (Jameeat Tawassul) and Voice of Truth for Libyan Women (Saut Al Haqq li’l Nisaa’i Libyeen).