A group of UN independent experts on Thursday expressed grave concern over a “discriminatory policy” issued by the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Libya, which effectively restricts women and girls from travelling abroad without a male guardian.
This group of experts who issued the statement were appointed by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Under the GNU policy, all women and girls in Libya are mandated to fill out a detailed form providing personal information, reasons and previous history of traveling without a male guardian. Those who refuse to complete or submit the form are denied exit.
“Not only is this policy discriminatory, but it also restricts the freedom of movement of women and girls, including students who leave the country to study abroad,” the experts said in a statement.
They voiced their deep concern about the negative impact of the “discriminatory procedure” on the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls “in contradiction with Libya’s international and national obligations on non-discrimination, equality and the right to privacy.”
The UN experts were also concerned about reported attempts by the Libyan Internal Security Agency (ISA) to intimidate human rights defenders, including women, who have spoken out against these policies.
The experts urged the authorities to withdraw this requirement, and to prevent all intimidation, harassment and attacks against women and human rights defenders who have protested against the country’s travel policy.
“The restriction marks a further erosion of the rights of women and girls in Libya and sends the wrong signal,” they said, adding that women’s equality and dignity must be ensured.