Mr Ian Martin, head of the UNSMIL praises Libyan women
During conference in the Libyan capital Tripoli, held under the slogan My Voice for Her, organised as part of a nationwide awareness campaign to support women candidates for the National Congress elections, the head of the United Nations Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL), Mr Ian Martin, praised the major role that women are playing in the electoral process in Libya.
The conference was organised by the Libyan Women Union and Maan Nabneeha Movement, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP. It attracted more than 350 female electoral candidates among over 500 guests.
The occasion was also intended to to celebrate the achievements of the women of Libya, to support women candidates for the National Congress elections as well as support other women to vote for their counterparts,
Speaking at the conference, Mr Martin congratulated Libyan women for their contributions towards the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment to date, and commended their “practical efforts to support women to register to vote, to educate women and men as to voting, and the support you are providing to women candidates.
In total, there are 625 women standing in the July 7 elections, 540 of whom represent political parties; 85 are standing as independent candidates. The electoral commission states that 80% of eligible voters have registered, totalling 2.7 million people. Of these, 45% are female.
Accepting the fact that we are living in momentous times, in this region and in Libya, Mr Martin said recalled the electoral milestones achieved by the Libyan people so far. He said that the number of registered voters is a great achievement for the High National Election Commission, HNEC, and for the people of Libya.
He added that the number of women voters and candidates shows the determination of women to participate in the election.
“These achievements underscore the commitment and perseverance of Libyans throughout the country. They bring to life your belief in the democratic process. The new Libya provides a new opportunity for Libyan women to articulate your political, economic and social aspirations,” Mr Martin said.
He continued that many women across Libya are today challenging barriers that have held deprived the nation of their political and socio-economic contribution and that those present for the occasion are amongst the leaders, the vanguard of women demanding a meaningful role in building the new Libya.
“We have seen in many different countries that gender equality extends beyond women. Their empowerment is that of Libyan society as a whole,” he said.
Mr Martin said that if women have equal opportunities to fulfil their political and socio-economic role, this contributes to development, democracy, nation-building and peace for all Libyans.
“Friends from Civil Society, it is upon your shoulders that aspirations for equality in Libya have been carried. You have advocated tirelessly through social media, demonstrations, petitioning and public fora for further change in the daily lives of Libyans,” he said.
He commended the women candidates, saying it was inspiring to see them claiming their equal political and civic rights to build a new Libya, and congratulated each one of them on the step they were taking to make their country a better place for themselves, their children and their grandchildren, your children and your grandchildren.
Describing the women candidates as role models not just for the women and girls of Libya, Mr Martin said that they have many supporters across the globe who will be watching them and wishing them the very best of success.
Explaining that the United Nations Development Programme has supported this event as part of its programme to reinforce capacities of women candidates to run for office, he said that the UNDP provided women candidates in various parts of Libya with specialised training.
Mr Martin confirmed that the United Nations would continue to work with the Libyan authorities to promote the equal participation of women and men in the life of Libya.