Tripoli, 20 July 2103:
The NGO Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) has welcomed the decision by Congress to reserve seats on . . .[restrict]the 60-member Constitutional Commission for women and ethnic minorities but has criticized the amount set aside for the former. It says that the allocation of six seats for women is “insufficient where women represent 49 percent of the population”. It also fears that “the measures outlined in the Election Law to fulfil the quota may have a negative impact on women’s participation”.
It further questions whether two seats for each of the three main ethnic minorities – the Amazigh, Tebus and Tuaregs – are sufficient and asks whether seats should not be reserved for other groups, such as those with special needs.
It points out that to fulfil the women’s quota, some districts will have to run women-only candidates. This, it says, could be culturally difficult “and may result in negativity towards women candidates or lack of participation”. Congress had to ensure that the quotas were fulfilled in a way that does not hinder participation.
In particular, LFJL also criticised the “lack of public consultations and engagement by members of Congress with their constituents during the initial phase of the constitution-making process including the drafting of the Election Law”. It claimed that in only one of the 35 communities it had visited had elected officials discussed the constitutional process with the electorate.
It spoke of the “opaque and vague process with which the Election Law was passed” saying that it indicated that “the GNC had not yet appreciated the need to engage the population and foster public participation, through public consultation or outreach by members of the GNC to their constituents”. There had to be more transparency in in the drafting of laws, it said.
“We acknowledge and praise the GNC’s attempts at inclusiveness, and welcome the President of the GNC’s emphasis on public legitimacy as achieved through elections and a referendum on the constitution,” said LFJL Director Elham Saudi. “However, in such a critical process, where the rights of all people are at stake, there must be true representation by fostering the participation of everyday people within Libya, so that the final outcome, the constitution, reflects the aspirations of all people.” [/restrict]