SRSG Address at the Launching of Awareness Campaign to Support Women Candidates - 25 June 2012

26 Jun 2012

SRSG Address at the Launching of Awareness Campaign to Support Women Candidates - 25 June 2012

The Libyan Women Union and Maan Nabneeha Movement, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Libya, on Monday 25 June 2012 launched a nationwide awareness campaign to support women candidates for the National Congress elections.

Under the slogan of "My Voice For Her", the campaign promotes and encourages the 500 women candidates as well as supports other women to vote for their counterparts.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Libya and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Mr. Ian Martin, addressed the opening session. Following is the full text of his remarks:

Deputy Chairman and Members of the National Transitional Council,

Prime Minister of the Interim Government El Keib,

Chairman of the High National Electoral Commission, Deputy President of the Libyan Women's Union, President of Maan Nabneeha Movement,

Distinguished Candidates and women from across Libya,

Friends from Civil Society,

Excellencies and Colleagues,

We are living in momentous times, in this region and in Libya. As we celebrate the achievements of the women of Libya this evening, let us recall the electoral milestones achieved by the Libyan people so far. The number of registered voters is a great achievement for the High National Election Commission and for the people of Libya. The number of women voters and candidates shows the determination of women to participate in the election. These achievements underscore the commitment and perseverance of Libyans throughout the country. They bring to life your belief in the democratic process.

The new Libya provides a new opportunity for Libyan women to articulate your political, economic and social aspirations. Many women across Libya are today challenging barriers that have held deprived the nation of their political and socio-economic contribution and those of you present here today are amongst the leaders, the vanguard of women demanding a meaningful role in building the new Libya.

We have seen in many different countries that gender equality extends beyond women. Their empowerment is that of Libyan society as a whole. If women have equal opportunities to fulfil their political and socio-economic role, this contributes to development, democracy, nation-building and peace for all Libyans.

Friends from Civil Society,

It is upon your shoulders that aspirations for equality in Libya have been carried. You have advocated tirelessly through social media, demonstrations, petitioning and public fora for further change in the daily lives of Libyans. I congratulate you for the contributions you have made to advance gender equality and women's empowerment to date. I thank you for all that you are doing to make the National Congress elections a success. I commend your practical efforts to support women to register to vote, to educate women and men as to voting, and the support you are providing to women candidates.

Distinguished Candidates,

It is inspiring for all of us to see you claiming your equal political and civic rights to build a new Libya. I congratulate each one of you on the step you are taking to make your country a better place for you, your children and your grandchildren. You are role models not just for the women and girls of Libya. You have many, many supporters across the globe who will be watching you and wishing you the very best of success.

The United Nations Development Programme has supported this event as part of its programme to reinforce capacities of women candidates to run for office, which has provided specialised training to women candidates in various parts of Libya. The United Nations will continue to work with you and the Libyan authorities to promote the equal participation of women and men in the life of Libya.

So on behalf of my colleagues and myself, I wish you a wonderful evening - it is already - and a very successful, safe and inclusive election.

Thank you.