News / Africa

Libya Sees Growth of Civil Society Groups, NGO’s

Women gather at Tripoli's main square during a protest against the presence of weapons in the city, Libya, (file photo).
Women gather at Tripoli's main square during a protest against the presence of weapons in the city, Libya, (file photo).

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Sami Zaptia, a Libyan economist

Peter Clottey

A Libyan economist Sami Zaptia is expressing satisfaction with the growth of civil society groups, which he says are educating citizens about their rights and responsibilities in a democracy.

Zaptia says the groups, including non-governmental organizations, have been organizing nationwide forums and seminars to empower Libyans as they prepare for elections for a new government next year.

The anticipated vote is scheduled to establish a committee to draft a constitution.

Analysts say there has been an upsurge of radio, television and newspapers publications following the overthrow and death of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Zaptia says Libyans are breathing a breath of fresh air and are increasingly becoming aware of the need to respect people’s rights.

“[They] are learning very fast and very quickly. Libyans have suddenly known how to demonstrate, because there is demonstration every other day in front of one or another government building. They are being allowed to strike,” said Zaptia. “Libyans really are learning this new so-called social contract and there is completely new relationship at play now.”

He says public education campaigns about democracy are teaching potential voters that leaders should be accountable to them, a concept that he says was not recognized during Gadhafi’s four-decade-year rule.

Zaptia also says for others, change has been difficult.

“Some Libyans are finding this bewildering; it’s all new to them as you can imagine. Many Libyans born after 1969 when Mr. Gadhafi came to power have never known anything but a one state one party one man’s rule,” continues Zaptia. “So all this sudden plethora of options and variety and plurality, they are finding confusing.”

Zaptia also says there has been a sharp increase in the participation of women during Libya’s transition.

“Let it be clear that the whole world knows the women of Libya are taking the full lion’s share of these activities. Day after day, I receive an invitation to attend one of the activities of women’s movements, [which are taking place] all over Libya,” said Zaptia. “They are full participants now in a new Libyan democracy and freedom and explaining the complexities of the new interim constitution.”

Meanwhile, Russia has renewed calls for NATO to investigate possible civilian deaths during its campaign of airstrikes in the North African country this year. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he will bring the issue to the Security Council on Thursday when it is set to discuss Libya.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs