By Sami Zaptia.
London, 17 January 2020:
UNSMIL has today condemned the continued abduction and disappearance of HoR member Siham Sergewa. Six months on from her disappearance in eastern Libya purportedly for speaking out against Khalifa Hafter, UNSMIL demanded the immediate release for her and for all victims of forced disappearance.
UNSMIL said Sergewa’s enforced disappearance is an attempt to silence one of Libya’s prominent female voices and to intimidate others seeking to participate in the country’s political life. Violence against women in politics also threatens gender equality and the building of robust and resilient democratic institutions, it added.
Meanwhile, the Embassies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the delegation of the European Union, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom made a similar statement.
They renewed their call to the Libyan authorities concerned to conduct urgent investigations into their disappeared and to provide a very needed update on their location.
they added that attacks against journalists, politicians, political activists and members of civil society are unacceptable. Violations of international humanitarian law and human rights will no longer pass, and the criminals will no doubt be held before the law.
All Libyan women and men must have the opportunity to participate on an equal and meaningful basis in the transitional peace process to ensure long-term stability and security in Libya, they added.
Here is UNSMIL’s full statement:
”Six months ago, Siham Sergewa, an elected member of the House of Representatives, was seized at night from her home in the heavily fortified Buhedima District of Benghazi. Since her violent abduction, Ms. Sergewa’s fate remains unknown.
UNSMIL continues to follow up on the enforced disappearance of Ms. Sergewa and reiterates that the authorities in eastern Libya are responsible for respecting international human rights law and are legally obliged to establish the fate and whereabouts of Ms. Sergewa.
Ms. Sergewa’s enforced disappearance constitutes an attempt to silence one of Libya’s prominent female voices and to intimidate others seeking to participate in the country’s political life. Violence against women in politics also threatens gender equality and the building of robust and resilient democratic institutions.
The United Nations condemns the abduction and the disappearance of Ms. Sergewa. We demand the immediate release for her and for all victims of forced disappearance and that those responsible be held accountable”.