June 26, 2014
Benghazi, Shocking News
A voice silenced
Libya: Women and Inclusive Democracy
It is with deep shock and sadness that Libyans and friends of Libya received the news of the assassination of Salwa Bughaghis yesterday - on a day when Libyans went to the polls to elect their new government. Yesterday's elections have been violent and many have cast their votes under challenging conditions. Ms Bughaghis was one of them. Given the circumstances of her assassination, it might be implied that her husband and son were the main targets. However, her life was under threat nonetheless. Only last week she told women rights activists in Tripoli that her life was at risk.
Democratic inclusion of women has been one of the major issues of Libyan women. This is also the case for other women in the MENA region during the post Jasmine Revolution period. In Libya, the law and order situation is getting worse by the day and causing grave concerns for women and human rights organisations.
Salwa Bughaghis was one of the 20 women who were sent to Tunisia during the October 2011 elections by the EU. Ms Bughaghis met Gender Concerns International's Gender Election Monitoring Mission in Tunis and requested their support and guidance for democratic inclusion of women in Libya. In 2012, Salwa Bughaghis visited organisation's headquarters in The Hague. She emphasised the importance of support of international community to the women and human rights organisations in Libya.
Elections and democratic inclusion were the core common concerns between Salwa Bughaghis and Gender Concerns International. It does not seem a coincidence that her voice was silenced on a historic election day in Libya. But Salwa's voice cannot be silenced - this tragedy will strengthen the commitment of women's and human rights activists in Libya. Sabra Bano, the Director of Gender Concerns International, states that "Libya is shocked by this tragedy but determined to fight the fight".
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