For women’s full participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding

An initiative from Kvinna till Kvinna

Important fight for women’s participation in Consitutional Assembly in Libya

Tags: , , , , , , Categories: The Middle East, Uncategorized

”Reject the recently-issued draft electoral law, since it does not ensure equal gender representation in the Constitutional Assembly that will draft Libya’s new constitution”. This was the message from The Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, LWPP, to all Libyans after the proposed law was presented in the end of May. A recently published report by Human Rights Watch also underlines the close connection between future women’s rights in Libya and women’s equal participation in the constitution writing process.

The draft electoral law is the work of a committee assigned by the Libyan General National Congress (GNC). It sets the rules for the popular elections that will be held to fill the 60 seats of the Constitutional Assembly that will be responsible for drafting the new constitutaion. LWPP has identified several areas of concern regarding the electoral law, among them the lack of adequate mechanisms to ensure representation of both men and women, and the simple majority vote system, which affects both female candidates and candidates from all kinds of minorities negatively.

“The electoral law of the Constitutional Assembly reminds us of the National Transitional Councils’ first draft of the electoral law of the GNC. Both mindset is basically exclusionist. Again this runs against the spirit of the 17th Feb revolution in which women and men fought together to foster equality, justice and democracy. Democracy entitles that all voices are represented, those of the majority as well as those of the minority especially if we are addressing the process of drafting the constitution which is basically the establishment of the social contract.” said Zahra’ Langhi, Cofounder of LWPP in a statement.

“Women’s voices critical”

Human Rights Watch’s report A Revolution For All – Women’s Rights in the New Libya is also adamant in its warnings about the consequences for gender equality in Libya if women aren’t equally represented in the constitution drafting process.

”Failure to deal with these issues (one of which is equal representation, editor’s comment) properly will set back the progress women have made over the past two years, and hinder respect for women’s rights in the future. (…) Women’s voices are critical to prepare a constitution that meets international standards for women’s rights” the report states.

Egypt warning example

Another recent report, Women and Equal Citizenship: Analysis of the New Constitution of Egypt by the Arab Forum for Citizenship in Transition, FACT, also focuses on the clear connection between the writing of constitutions and future equality. It examines the final draft of the Egyptian constitution that was signed into law last December. The report states that important rights regarding the status of women were muddled in vague text in the constitution and written with a conservative vision for the society. Subsequently Egypt’s constitution lacks proper mechanisms for the protection of women’s rights and has no mechanisms to address discrimination based on sex or mentions any creation of agencies to oversee such cases.

The report also states that these gaps in ensuring full equality among Egypts citizens, were the possible results of the clear lack of female voices in the constitution’s formation (there were only 6 percent women in the Constitutent Assembly).

More about consitution writing and women’s rights.

Malin Ekerstedt

Footnote:

The Arab Forum for Citizenship in Transition has also releasead a report examining several draft constitutions in Tunisia: Equal Citizenship in Tunisia: Constitutional Guarantees for Equality between Citizens.

Advocacy effort behind better representation for Libya’s women

Tags: , , , , , Categories: The Middle East

After a month long campaign Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, LWPP, managed to change the proposed new electoral law for Libya to secure women’s participation, writes the Euro-Mediterranian Human Rights Network, EMHRN. The new law, that was passed on February 8th, guarantees women at least 40 out of 200 seats in the Constituent Assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution. It also binds requiring parties to alternate male and female candidates on their lists for the New Libyan Assembly. Because 80 seats of the 200-member assembly are allocated to party lists, 40 women will be guaranteed seats in the assembly.

The original proposition contained a quota of 10 percent representation for women. When it was announced LWPP organized protests and set up the draft of an alternative law with the help of legal experts. And the now approved law contains many passages with the language of the LWPP draft.

-It hasn’t been an easy battle, but we thank all the members of our legal team and all the civil society members and youth groups who joined protests in public squares all around Libya in favor of a more equitable and inclusive electoral law, said Zahra’ Langhi of the LWPP to EMHRN.

Read more on EMHRN and LWPP.