Tripoli, 8 March 2013:
Sending out a message of celebration and congratulation to women in Libya today, Friday, the UN Special Representative in Libya, Tarek Mitri, stressed the important role for women in building the new Libya.
“While International Women’s Day serves as a reminder for women’s rights, it is also an opportunity for you, the women of Libya, to articulate your political, economic and social aspirations so that you contribute to your country’s rebuilding,” said Mitri.
“It is also an opportunity for Libyan men to contribute to a better future in which Libyan women would assume their rightful place as active partners in national life,” he added.
Mitri pointed out that the revolution would not have been possible without Libyan women standing hand in hand with men against the old regime. Mothers, daughters, wives and sisters, many of whom lost loved ones, showed great courage, he said.
“In Benghazi two years ago, women protesters ignited the demonstrations which engulfed the country and ultimately led to the regime’s downfall,” said Mitri. “Each Libyan woman contributed to this revolution, and the women and girls of this country deserve the salute and respect of a grateful nation.”
The courage of Libyan women had continued since the revolution, he said, as they worked tirelessly to advance the cause of women.
“You have proven your commitment to creating a new Libya, struggling with conviction as individuals or through non-government organisations to cement the achievements and the gains made, so that your families and children can have a better future,” Mitri said. “This is of extreme importance for the country as it navigates its way to the shores of peace and prosperity.”
UNSMIL also highlighted the progress women have made in political spheres, pointing out that: “There are two women Cabinet ministers, and congresswomen recently formed their own caucus to further their common goals as women.”
Mitri said women now have a key role to play: “As preparations are underway for elections of a Constitution-Drafting Assembly, to be followed by the process of drafting the country’s constitution and then putting the proposed constitution to a referendum.”
The constitution, he said, would be a milestone in Libya’s democratic transition. The representation and “meaningful participation” of women in state institutions and all aspects of the constitution-drafting assembly would, he said, “significantly contribute to the building of the new Libya.”
Mitri said: “This is your opportunity to make your voice heard and to leave your mark, particularly on issues related to women and their rights as well as on all national matters pertaining to the country and its future.”
He said that promoting women’s rights was one of UNSMIL’s priorities. “The Mission will continue in its quest to facilitate the development of appropriate mechanisms to devote to the needs and aspirations of women and address the challenges they face,” said Mitri. [/restrict]