UN holds eastern authorities in Libya responsible for disappearance of HoR member

Siham Sirgiwa is a member of the House of Representatives in Libya. [Photo: Social Media]
UNSMIL reiterated that relevant authorities in eastern Libya have the legal responsibility to establish the fate and whereabouts of the member of the House of Representatives (HoR) Siham Sergewa, saying it remains in close contact with the victims’ families.

“Three months ago, Siham Sergewa, an elected member of the House of Representatives, was seized at night from her home in Benghazi. Since her violent abduction by armed men, Ms. Sergewa’s fate remains unknown.” UNSMIL said in a statement on Thursday.

The United Nations said it condemns the abduction and the disappearance of Sergewa and the messages that her disappearance are intended to convey.

“We will continue to lift our voices to demand her release and that those responsible for her violent abduction be held accountable.” UNSMIL explained.

“Since the start of the offensive against Tripoli by “Libyan National Army” forces in April, UNSMIL has recorded an alarming increase in the number of enforced disappearances in towns and cities across the country, including in Tripoli, Benghazi, Tarhouna as well as in Murzuq.” UNSMIL further explained.

It added that Sergewa’s enforced disappearance sends a message of terror to elected officials over their right to freely express themselves. Parliamentarians enjoy a legal immunity which is vital to protect democratic principles and freedoms.

“Targeting an elected official is therefore an assault on the democratic foundations of the state. It also constitutes a clear attempt to silence one of Libya’s prominent female voices and to intimidate other women seeking to participate in the country’s political life.” UNSMIL said.

It indicated that violence against women in politics in the form of physical assault, abductions, smear campaigns and all other gender related slurs is a human rights violation.

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