Thursday, February 26, 2015
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Displacement and Humanitarian Response
Justice, Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
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Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (S/2015/144).

Code: S/2015/144

Period of Time and Topic: Covering the period 5 September 2014 to 26 February 2015, the report provides an update on the implementation of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) mandate and outlines the major political and security developments in Libya as well as provides an overview of the human rights and humanitarian situation.

Women, Peace and Security

In pursuant of Resolution 2144 (2014), the Secretary-General report provides an update on the implementation of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).WPS references have decreased since the previous report (S/2014/653), both in terms of their number (from seven to three) and scope. WPS was not mentioned in the Observations section of the report, which is a critical section for shaping future developments of the mission. Reference to women also continue to center on women’s protection concerns, particularly the targeted nature of attacks against women active in public life. The report does not offer any gender analysis on gender and conflict and/or data on women in the security, political or humanitarian sector. Overall, the Secretary-General report is gender blind, missing key opportunities to identify women’s protection and participation concerns in Libya’s deteriorating security environment. There are also several WPS concerns highlighted in the mandate for which the report fails to provide sufficient information.

Security Sector: Military and Police, Security Monitoring, and Demilitarization and Arms Management

While the report notes that the overall security situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, with sharp increases in military operations by a multiplying number of fractions, civilian recruitment, and violent extremist activity, there are no references to women or women’s protection. The only reference to WPS concerns the beheading of three human rights defenders on 11 November 2014 by “suspected Islamists” in Derna.[1]The explanation of the security sector is divided into three sections to highlight the major actors and incidents of violence in western, eastern, and southern Libya. The report misses an opportunity to highlight women’s protection concerns and/or women’s participation in all three areas of the country. The report should provide information on how women are affected by the major players of violence, including Libya Dawn Coalition, Zintan, Operation Dignity, the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (which includes Ansar Al-sharia), the Islamic Youth, the Fazzan branch of the Islamic State (IS), and all-other IS related affiliates. The report further misses an opportunity to provide gender analysis of on-going violent extremism, particularly perpetrated by IS and its armed affiliates. The report cites a mass beheading of 21 men, of whom 20 were Egyptian Coptic Christians, released on video tapes to the public.[2] This specific targeting of males suggests that gender dimensions of IS’s violent activity in Libya deserves attention, and analysis should acknowledges the different experiences of both men and women. At a minimum the report should provide sex disaggregated data on all conflict-related data, including civilian casualties, injuries, beheadings, and displacements, cited within these three sections. From the security evidence provided by this report, the situation of women is largely unknown.

The report also details UNSMIL activity in the security sector. Although the report cites UNSMIL concern over the lack of border security, leading to increasing transnational organized crime and illegal smuggling of migrants,[3] and the remaining explosive remnants of war.[4] However, the report provides no analysis or details of these illegal activities, missing an opportunity to provide information on women’s involvement and impact. In addition, without sex disaggregated data on the number of civilians smuggled, deaths, and injuries, the gravity of women’s protection concerns are largely unknown.

UNSMIL also discontinued its defense sector reform support; however, UNSMIL continues to convene regular coordination on the Libyan defense sector reform with national security forces and armed groups in Tunis.[5] In addition, UNSMIL has retasked its remaining police reform staff and resources to support political dialogue processes.[6] The report misses an opportunity to discuss women’s participation in any defense sector processes and/or how UNSMIL supports through financial, technical and/or political means women’s participation. At a minimum, UNSMIL’s police staff should establish a consultative form with Libyan civil society, particularly women’s organizations, to ensure women’s inclusion in the political dialogue process.

Humanitarian Situation and Support

Given the deteriorating situation in Libya, the report focuses largely on the co-option of the humanitarian space by warring factions, particularly medical and educational facilities.[7] The report misses an opportunity to provide an understanding of the gendered dimensions of the humanitarian situation, particularly the impact of the conflict on women’s health services and girls school attendance, or on how gender-specific needs are being taken into account in the distribution of the humanitarian. The report also lacks a discussion of the gender-sensitivity of emergency response and contingency planning.[8] The United Nations country team is specifically cited with providing humanitarian assistance whenever possible, in partnership with with the Libyan Red Crescent Society, Libyan non-governmental organizations, and other Libyan Crisis Committees as well as providing a number of capacity-development activities on national data collection and analysis;[9] however, no information is provided on whether civil society participated in the design, implementation or monitoring of aid and/or whether gender is discussed in gender data collection and capacity-development activities. At a minimum, the report should provide sex-disaggregated on refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and casualties in the camp cited in the report.

Human Rights

The report focuses on human rights violations committed in the deteriorating security situation, noting that attacks on women activists have increased during the reporting period, with many women having to flee Libya after threats made against their life or children.[10] This reference would have been improved if figures and more information was provided on the number of women forced to flee and the kinds of threats they received. However, the report does cite two incidents of threats and one of violence against women. One activist reported that she had received several telephone calls from armed that if she continued writing on women’s rights, she and her children would be killed.[11] Another activist, who had taken part in a public debate on women's rights, also received anonymous telephone calls and text messages warning that she would be abducted and killed.[12] In addition, on 23 December 2014, an Egyptian Copts couple was killed in their home in Sirte, allegedly by Ansar al-Sharia elements, while their 13-year-old daughter was abducted and subsequently killed.[13] The report also discusses reported abductions, torture, and killing to UNSMIL by non-state armed actors, but provides no sex disaggregated data and/or references to women’s experiences.

UNSMIL is specifically mandated to “monitor and protect human rights, in accordance with Libya’s international legal obligations, particularly those of women.”[14] Future reporting should discuss concrete steps taken by the mission to protect, even through the monitoring of, women’s rights violations. At a minimum, the report should frame the reporting of this violence in terms of women’s protection and call for the end of violence against women and women’s protection in the Observation section.

Rule of Law

The mission mandate calls on UNSMIL to “promote the rule of law and monitor and protect human rights, in accordance with Libya’s international legal obligations, particularly those of women.”[15] Yet, no references are made to women or WPS in the report's discussion the judiciary and penal system and trials of officials of the former state regime. The report notes that UNSMIL received documentation of several cases of deaths and extrajudicial killings in custody as well as reports of beatings, torture, and other ill treatment in multiple correction facilities.[16] In addition, the report notes that official courts in Benghazi, Derna and Sirte remain un-operational, while sharia courts have reportedly been established outside state authority.[17] The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on the situation of women in judicial sector, specifically how issues of women’s rights are affected by the use of sharia law. Future reports should provide detailed information on women’s protection concerns with regard to official abuse and non-state legal mechanisms. At a minimum, the report should provide sex disaggregated data on extrajudicial killings, beatings, torture, and other ill treatment in official custody.

Political Process and Electoral Assistance

In regards to the Constitutional drafting process, the report notes UNSMIL, UNDP, and UN-Women organized a workshop to bring together women civil society representatives, members of the House of Representatives and Constitutional Drafting Assembly members.[18] The report misses an opportunity to provide information on the outcome of this workshop and to provide information on whether this consultative process will continue. In addition, the report outlines three UNSMIL-led political initiatives to address the deepening political crisis, particularly the emergence of parallel institutions,[19] including the Ghadames talks,[20] a two-day dialogue session at the UN Office at Geneva,[21] and a new round of “extensive consultations with “different stakeholders” undertaken by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Libya.[22] The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women’s participation in these three political processes. UNSMIL is mandated to promote “the empowerment and political participation of all part of Libyan society, in particular women.”[23] Future reporting must report on women’s participation at all UN-led political talks and the mission’s progress to ensure women’s inclusion in all political processes.

In regards electoral assistance, the political and security situation prevented Libyan electoral actors from moving forward with preparations for the constitutional referendum;[24] however, UNSMIL and UNDP continued to support the High National Election Commission and “other electoral actors” on technical assistance and “facilitating dialogue between Libyan electoral stakeholders.”[25] The report should have specifically identified whether or not women and civil society representatives are among the identified stakeholders as well as information on women’s participation in preparations in the electoral process. Overall, the report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women’s participation, beyond the one workshop, throughout the report, when discussing political and electoral processes.

International cooperation and coordination

The report notes that UNSMIL continues to coordinate international assistance in Libya, including the coordination of women’s empowerment.[26] The report misses the opportunity to identify what kind of international support is being provided to women’s empowerment and how it is being coordinated on the ground. Citing specific projects and/or figures would provide a better understanding of the assistance as well as help to identify the gaps for women’s empowerment that still require international assistance.


Resolution 2144 (2014) “calls for those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including sexual violence and violations.”[27] The report does not provide any information on sexual or gender-based violence, in regards to human rights violations and or rule of law. Given the on-going SGBV and the Council recognition of these violations, future supports should provide information on instances of SGBV as well as information on the services provided to survivors, including health and legal services.

Ideal Asks

In the context of the deteriorating security situation, reports must provide information, including sex disaggregated data, on the violation of women’s human rights, including sexual and gender based violence, and missions progress on monitoring and protection of women’s human rights in eastern, western and southern Libya. Given the number of actors in the conflict, gender analysis should also be provided for the regions that identifies specific actors. In addition, the report must advocate for participation of women at all levels of the political-process to broker ceasefires and institution-building.  It is critical that reports mainstream gender as a crosscutting issue, providing at a minimum, sex disaggregated data on civilian casualties, injuries, torture, beheadings, refugees, IDPs, and asylum seekers. Future reporting must include a comprehensive discussion of SGBV with a focus on access to justice for survivors and protection concerns for IDP and refugee women. Reporting should also systematically engage women’s civil society as consultants and participants in humanitarian, electoral, and security processes. Finally, the report should recognize the gender dimensions of extremism in Libya, particularly the gender-violence by IS and its affiliates.


[1] S/2015/144 para. 17

[2] S/2015/144 para. 3, 19

[3] S/2015/144 para. 62

[4] S/2015/144 para. 63

[5] S/2015/144 para. 64-65

[6] S/2015/144 para. 66

[7] S/2015/144 para. 26-28

[8] S/2015/144 para. 68-69

[9] S/2015/144 para. 68

[10] S/2015/144 para. 50-51

[11] S/2015/144 para. 50

[12] S/2015/144 para. 50

[13] S/2015/144 para. 53

[14] S/RES/2144 (2014) Op 6 (b)

[15] S/RES/2144 (2014) Op 6 (b)

[16] S/2015/144 para. 58

[17] S/2015/144 para. 57

[18] S/2015/144 para. 41

[19] S/2015/144 para. 29, 33

[20] S/2015/144 para. 30, 31

[21] S/2015/144 para. 34

[22] S/2015/144 para. 33

[23] S/Res/2144 (2014) Op. 6 (a)

[24] S/2015/144 para. 42

[25] S/2015/144 para. 43

[26] S/2015/144 para. 67

[27] S/RES/2144 (2014) Op. 2