"We will never give up for Libya – no matter how long the struggle takes. We are determined to build the Libya we have always dreamed of."
- Salwa Bugaighis
LIBYAN WOMEN’S PLATFORM FOR PEACE (LWPP)
LWPP was designed to ensure that women remain a vital part of post-Gaddafi Libya, with a particular emphasis on inclusive transitions, women’s rights, youth leadership, advancement and security.
On June 25, 2014, the day of the first general election in Libya in almost fifty years, Salwa Bugaighis was assassinated in her own home by armed men who felt threatened by her message of peace and democracy. A key figure in the revolution against Gaddafi, and an activist throughout her life, Salwa fought fearlessly, persistently, and tenaciously not just for women’s rights, but the rights of her fellow Libyans to live free of oppression, persecution, marginalization, and torture. As a lawyer, she campaigned on behalf of political prisoners under the Gaddafi regime. As a member of the National Transitional Council, Salwa led advocacy to lobby for a higher quota for women’s representation in the decision-making process. As the recently appointed deputy head of the National Dialogue Preparatory Council, she pushed for open dialogue and peaceful resolution.
In October 2011, Salwa co-founded the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP) with Zahra Langhi and over thirty-five women from different cities and backgrounds. LWPP was designed to ensure that women remain a vital part of post-Gaddafi Libya, with a particular emphasis on inclusive transitions, women’s rights, youth leadership, advancement and security as related to women’s political and economic participation, constitutional reform, and education. Thanks to Salwa and her partners’ fearless work, LWPP has since grown into a network of over 100 organizations and people.
The government did not investigate or prosecute anyone in relation to Salwa’s death. Salwa was targeted because of her gender and her commitment to bring about progress in Libya. Her charisma, strength, and drive inspired others to follow her in her fight to create real change, and galvanized an entire movement in Libya.
Since Salwa’s assassination in 2014 several other Libyan women human rights defenders have been targeted, abducted and/or killed. Serham Sergiwa, a Libyan psychologist and Member of Parliament was abducted in July 2019 and has been missing since. Most recently Hanan Al-Barassi, a Benghazi-based lawyer was killed on November 10, 2020.
Outspoken women human rights defenders and political leaders in Libya face constant intimidation and violence. Libyan women continue to be conspicuously left out of the UN-led peace process although they have traditionally played a key role in negotiating or mediating conflicts within families, clans and local communities. Locally known as “sheikhas,” they are respected elder women in their community. According to Zahra Langhi, despite Libyan women negotiators engaging in peace both formally and in customary ways, their role in building peace continues to be largely invisible.
We must honor the memory of Salwa and many others who laid down their lives fighting for Libyan women’s right to engage meaningfully in peace-building efforts in their country. Today, please make a contribution to the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace.
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To ensure that women remain a vital part of post-Gaddafi Libya, with a particular emphasis on inclusive transitions, women’s rights, youth leadership, advancement and security as related to women’s political and economic participation, constitutional reform, and education.
The Brutal Silencing of a Woman at the Forefront of Libya’s Rebellion
By: The New York Times | June 7, 2015
Scores or perhaps hundreds of killings remain unsolved in Benghazi, Libya, since the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi nearly four years ago. But no victim has symbolized the crushed hopes of the Libyan uprising more than Salwa Bugaighis.
Ms. Bugaighis, an outspoken human rights lawyer, was among the revolt’s first and most important leaders, and she was also the most prominent woman in the rebels’ early provisional government.