Highlighting the Gender-Sensitive Libyan Constitution at World Social Forum

Representatives from Gender Concerns International attended the workshop Women and Democratic Transition in Libya during the World Social Forum, which was held on 25 March in Tunis, Tunisia to discuss challenges for women in Libya. The workshop, organised by the Association of Tunisian Women for Research and Development (AFTURD), included some 20 representatives from various EU Member States, Libyan women, civil society representatives and university students.

A key theme of the event was the difficulty of implementing Libyan women’s rights in the new Constitution as was highlighted by the speaker, Ms Amira Majdoub, a Libyan judge and refugee in Tunisia. Ms Khadija Ben Hacine, Secretary General of AFTURD, emphasised the need for Libya to transition to democracy peacefully through use of the ballot box. The third speaker, Ms Ibtissem Gossi instead stressed the problem of continuous harassment of Libyan women and murder threats towards Libyan women activists. The President of AFTURD, Ms. Souad Kennou was the moderator of the event, which opened with a short presentation of AFTURD activities and the organisation’s willingness to support Libyan women.

Ms. Ibticem Kamoun, Gender Concerns Program Manager for Tunisia, presented an overview of the organisation’s activities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Ms. Kamoun emphasised how Gender Concerns is a pioneer in working on gender issues in Libya. She highlighted the example of the Gender-Sensitive Constitution for Libya which was drafted by Gender Concerns and Women and Youth Empowerment Forum with the support of the European Union. The document is currently under consideration by the Libyan Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA).

The event concluded with a consensus of the need to support women and particularly Libyan women activists in this unstable and fragile time in the country’s transition to democracy. Within this context, Ms. Kamoun of Gender Concerns reminded participants of the need to implement the Gender-Sensitive Recommendations into the new Libyan Constitution.