The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Koury, made Wednesday her first briefing to the UN Security Council.

Koury briefing was mere reporting developments that took place in Libya since the last briefing by her predecessor, the Senegalese Abdoulaye Bathily, as well as reporting her series of meetings recently with political leaders and officials, academics, civil society organizations, women’s groups, military leaders, representatives of cultural components, business people, as well as members of the diplomatic community. 

Koury then conveyed the viewpoints of Libyans by emphasizing that ‘overwhelmingly, citizens conveyed the need for a political agreement so that credible national elections can be held to restore legitimacy to all institutions.’

She pointed out that Libyans have also shared their ideas on what a future political process should look like, including the role of the five key Libyan institutional actors, of the two Chambers, the need for a broad-based type of dialogue, a combination of the above, and other ideas. 

Koury stressed that many have signaled the importance of a “pact” or an agreement that would, among other things, affirm the parties’ respect for electoral outcomes.

 ‘Similarly, some have emphasized the importance of including sufficient detail and mechanisms of enforcement in any future agreement to help ensure that the parties will adhere to its terms.’ she added.

Koury said; they also provided ideas on a roadmap on the substantive aspects, including whether to focus on issues of an interim government formation and steps to advance the holding of elections. Other citizens and officials expressed the need to address underlying conflict drivers. 

‘These to focus on issues relating to the economy, security structures, and the governance structure in Libya. The need for more decentralization, inclusiveness, fairness and transparency in governance was also widely expressed.’ She explained.

She said ‘Many Libyans continue to express deep concerns about the de facto division of the country and parallel governing institutions, underscoring that these developments undermine economic, security and stability, as well as Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, amidst concerns about the impact of geopolitical tensions playing out on Libya. ‘

On municipal elections she underscored the importance of the High National Elections Commission, (HNEC) move to open voter registration for municipal elections in 60 municipalities across Libya, revealing that to date, over 36,000 people have registered at in-person registration centres and through the electronic SMS system. 

However, she revealed to the UN Security Council that ten out of 12 in-person registration centres in the eastern municipalities have been prevented from opening, urging the authorities there to allow those centers to open and enable Libyans to register and exercise their political rights.

she underlined that conflict prevention and preserving stability remain at the forefront of most Libyans concerns. 

Koury said in her briefing that greater efforts are also needed by Libyan authorities to address the presence of landmines and explosive remnants of war saying that twelve children were injured in Awbari in southern Libya and Tripoli in April and May alone. 

On the economic aspect, Koury told the UN Security Council that ‘for many Libyans, the economic situation is difficult, with families and small businesses facing high prices, less purchasing power, or limited access to cash. 

She reminded that ‘Libyan wealth is not translating into equitable distribution of resources, access to services and opportunities for all people, particularly youth and women.’

She stressed that ‘Unifying the national budget is an absolute necessity, and I urge all stakeholders to resolve remaining differences to ensure its swift adoption and agree on its transparent and accountable implementation.’

On human rights, she expressed concern over what she described as ‘reports of violations throughout the country, particularly the repetitive pattern of abduction or arbitrary arrest and detention of Libyans.’

She singled out the disappearance of the House of Representatives member, Ibrahim al-Darsi in Benghazi on 17 May, and the death of the political activist, Siraj Dughman under what she described as unclear circumstances while in detention in Benghazi. 

She also referred to the arbitrarily detention in Tripoli of House of Representative Member Hassan al-Ferjani Jaballa, among others, remains. 

Koury said UNSMIL continues to call on transparent and independent investigations into the disappearances and deaths of men and women in custody, and for those arbitrary detained to be released.

She said; ‘It is critical to advance national reconciliation and transitional justice, commending the work of the Presidential Council and the House of Representatives Justice and Reconciliation Committee for agreeing on one draft law that upholds victims’ rights and adheres to international standards.’ 

“I call on all relevant bodies to engage in the same spirit so that this vital legislation can be adopted based on consensus. The Mission, together with the African Union, is ready to continue providing facilitation and technical advice.” She added. 

Koury concluded her briefing by emphasizing that there is consensus among Libyan people about the need to advance the political process, as the status quo is not sustainable. 

Stephanie Koury, succeeded the Senegalese Abdoulaye Bathily, who submitted his resignation during his last briefing before the UN Security Council on April 16th 2024.