UNSMIL blames Libyan eastern authorities for disappearance of female lawmaker

UNSMIL blames Libyan eastern authorities for disappearance of female lawmaker

October 17, 2019 - 21:20
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

UNSMIL said relevant authorities in eastern Libya have the legal responsibility to establish the fate and whereabouts of the member of House of Representatives Siham Sergiwa that has been kidnapped for three months from her house in Benghazi.

"The United Nations condemns the abduction and the disappearance of Ms. Sergewa and the messages that her disappearance are intended to convey." UNSMIL said in a statement on Thursday.

UNSMIL said enforced disappearance of Sergiwa and others sends a message of terror to elected officials over their right to freely express themselves.

"Parliamentarians enjoy a legal immunity which is vital to protect democratic principles and freedoms. Targeting an elected official is therefore an assault on the democratic foundations of the state. It also constitutes a clear attempt to silence one of Libya’s prominent female voices and to intimidate other women seeking to participate in the country's political life." The statement reads.

It indicated that violence against women in politics in the form of physical assault, abductions, smear campaigns and all other gender related slurs is a human rights violation.

On July 17, Awliaa Al-Dam brigade fighters from Khalifa Haftar's forces stormed Sergiwa's house in Benghazi, shooting her husband and beating her son, then taking her to an unknown location.

UNSMIL also remarked that since the start of the offensive against Tripoli by "Libyan National Army" forces in April, It has recorded an alarming increase in the number of enforced disappearances in towns and cities across the country, including in Tripoli, Benghazi, Tarhouna as well as in Murzuq.