The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) recently took a decision to extend sanctions on Libya until 2020. The council came to the resolution through a total of 13 out of 15 votes.
The UNSC panel meeting focused on Resolution 2441 (2018) condemning Libya’s exports of oil by entities lacking support of the National Government Accord and reaffirmed the travel ban and freezing of assets which is contained in a prior resolution, that focuses on activities which threaten peace and the political transition.
The “activities,” according to the council, also include “directing or committing acts violating sexual and gender-based violence.” Two countries, Sweden and the Netherlands, proposed a modification to the oil export sanctions to include rape and sexual violence. Meanwhile, China and Russia abstained from voting in favor.
Delegates from the United Kingdom (UK) joined the Netherlands and Sweden to support the sexual and gender-based violence approach to these new sanctions because they believe the issue is strongly related to supporting the Government National Accord.
“The UK welcomes the Security Council's agreement to renew the Libya sanctions regime. In particular, we welcome the fact that the Council has taken an important step by expanding the designation criteria to include gender-based violence,” stated the United Kingdom’s envoy.
On the other hand, the Russian representative claimed that creating a new individual category implied a distraction from their purposes. “The gender component is unjustifiably emerging in the work of the 1970 Committee Panel of Experts. This will distract those experts from their direct obligations.”
After the removal of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 with covert support from the United States, the country plunged into chaos. Libya is currently ruled by rival administrations. Among other issues, the void of unanimous leadership has led to instability which creates fertile terrain for criminal networks, including human traffickers.