The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has blamed “relevant authorities in eastern Libya” for the legal responsibility to establish the fate and whereabouts of the member of the House of Representatives Siham Sergewa, who disappeared three months ago after a shootout in front of her house in Benghazi.
UNSMIL said it continues to follow up on the enforced disappearance of Sergewa and similar cases throughout the country, saying it is still on contact with the relatives of the victims.
“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.” UNSMIL said.
It added that 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.” It explained.
UNSMIL said 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.
“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 indicated.