News / Middle East

HRW Calls on Libya to Protect Women's Rights

A Libyan woman holds a pamphlet, which reads "Together to end the violence against women" during a gathering in Benghazi Nov. 25, 2012.
A Libyan woman holds a pamphlet, which reads "Together to end the violence against women" during a gathering in Benghazi Nov. 25, 2012.
Selah Hennessy
— The end of Moammar Gadhafi's 40-year rule in 2011 was a watershed moment for women, said a new report from Human Rights Watch. Women's rights are at contention as the country begins to draft a new constitution following four decades of dictatorship.

The Libyan revolution was an "earthquake" to the cultural status of women in Libya, according to Human Rights Watch.

Liesl Gerntholtz, the group's women’s rights director, said, "Women particularly feel that their participation in the revolution needs to be valued and that they need to be able to continue to be fully part of public life in Libya. But at the same time they want the tools to challenge the discrimination they feel in their private lives as well."

The Human Rights Watch report published on Monday calls on the Libyan parliament to make sure that women are involved in the drafting process of a constitution. A Constituent Assembly, tasked with preparing the draft, is due to be chosen by popular election later this year.

The international campaign group hopes that once the drafting is underway, full gender equality will be guaranteed in the constitution, including banning discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, or marital status.

But even as women are benefiting in a post-Gadhafi era, there are also signs that progress could be derailed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Last month, Libya's top religious authority, the grand mufti, called for the separation of men and women in all workplaces, classrooms, and government offices. Sheikh Sadeq al-Ghariani also called for a ban on women marrying foreigners.

Gerntholtz said Libya's Supreme Court has also effectively lifted restrictions on polygamy.

"There are very conservative elements in Libyan society and many of these feel very strongly that women should not be participating in public life, that women's role is in the home," said Gerntholtz. "So I think that this is really a struggle between some of those elements and a progressive element, that is partly led by women themselves, but that is supported by more progressive elements in Libyan society."

Gerntholtz said the so-called "Arab Spring" in the Middle East has had mixed results for women.

"There have been some positive indications, particularly around the area of participation where it seems there is an openness and a willingness for women to participate more fully in political and public life," Gerntholtz added. "But there has been a lot of rhetoric, especially in places like Egypt, that we need to be concerned about."

In Libya, women have had some political success. In Libya's parliamentary elections last year, 33 women were elected to the 200-member General National Congress - making up around 15 percent of the parliament.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 27, 2013 11:16 AM
The end of Moammar Gadhafi's 40-year rule in 2011 was a watershed moment for women, said a new report from Human Rights Watch.

Yes, indeed. Under the Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi women had all the rights the men had. Now, they don't.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid