Target: Libyan Parliament General National Congress
Goal: Protect women’s rights in post-Gaddafi Libya.
Women have played a huge role in the revolution against Gaddafi in Libya, campaigning in the streets, protesting online, and actively running for political positions. During the fight, women provided medical treatment, shelter, food, and logistical strategies to the rebels. While there was and still is a backlash against women making a difference outside the home, times are quickly changing, and more women are enjoying their freedom.
Libya is still in the grip of post-revolution chaos, even more so after the sudden resignation of Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf. There is still the threat of human rights violations, especially women’s rights. This is the perfect time for the new Libyan government to lay down a legal foundation protecting women’s rights, using explicit language that guarantees equal rights between women and men.
A 40-page report called, “A Revolution for All: Women’s Rights in the New Libya” details key steps the government should take in meeting international standards, and rejecting gender based discrimination in law and practice. The report also urges the parliament to repeal Gaddafi-era laws that place women at a great risk for discrimination and violence. Those included laws on gender based violence, classifying sexual violence against women as a “crime against a woman’s honor” rather than just a crime. This discouraged victims of rape and domestic abuse from reporting the crimes and seeking justice.
Changes are happening for the better, as the 2012 parliament election saw voters elect 33 women candidates to the 200 member General National Congress. The electoral law included alternating between female and male candidates to provide equal terms. These gains in women’s progress are indeed massive, but in a country that is still making a name for itself, the gains are fragile and need to be protected. Urge the Libyan government to guarantee rights for women.
Dear General National Congress,
I would first like to commend you for the progressive changes made for women in Libya, and allowing more chances for women to hold political positions. In the recent revolution, women have played a significant role and it’s about time they are recognized. This is the perfect opportunity to protect the gains made by women and fully recognize them as equal to their male counterparts.
There are still laws in existence that can subject women to unequal treatment, such as classifying sexual violence as a crime against a women’s honor rather than just a crime committed against another human being. The gains that have been made are also fragile, and can easily be reversed if human rights are not a priority in a country still gripped in post-revolution chaos. Set an example for the rest of the developing world, and build a New Libya on equality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Al Jazeera English via commons.wikimedia.org