The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it "joins the world in supporting the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, adding that violence against women and girls in its various forms has been on the rise in Libya.
"This includes verbal, physical, or sexual violence, so-called ‘honour crimes,’ and as many women activists have told us, online violence against women." UNSMIL said in a statement on Friday.
UN envoy Abdoulaye Bathily said he joins the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign to end violence against women by 2030 and call upon all relevant Libyan stakeholders to take serious and active steps to combat violence against women and girls in Libya.
"Violence against women and girls comes in many shapes and forms, most recently it has evolved to include online harassment, threats and exploitation. Anecdotal information and data shows that women are victims of online violence including receiving inappropriate messages, hate speech and blackmailing. With the use of social media increasing in Libya, increased protection against online abuse and harassment are needed" UNSMIL said.
It added that like many countries around the globe, Libya needs to establish a strong legal system to address violence against women and girls, including enacting proper laws to ensure the protection of victims of violence.
"Laws also guarantee the provision of adequate services for women and girls to support them and help hold perpetrators to account." UNSMIL said.
UNSMIL encouraged all authorities to promote an environment that respects freedom of expression and combats hate speech and violence against women and girls.