I thank Special Representative Abdoulaye Bathily for his presentation. I also welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Libya in this meeting.
As this is the first time that Switzerland takes the floor on this topic, I would like to express our full support for your efforts and the efforts of the United Nations to support the resumption of the intra-Libyan dialogue.
In this Council and as co-chair of the working group on international humanitarian law and human rights of the Berlin Process, Switzerland is committed to peace and stability in Libya. That is why, last December, we supported the Special Representative in a digital human rights dialogue with over 300 participants from all over Libya. We have also hosted several UN meetings on Libya in the past and we remain available as a host state.
I would now like to make three points about the current situation in Libya:
Firstly, more than a year after the postponement of the elections, it is essential to renew the legitimacy of Libyan institutions. In this regard, Switzerland welcomes the announcement of the Special Representative's initiative to lead the country to free and fair elections. We call on all Libyan actors to engage constructively in the implementation of this plan.
We are convinced that a coherent international approach, including through the re-launch of the Berlin process, is necessary. Furthermore, we would like to recall that by validating the results of the Berlin Conference in 2020, through resolution 2510, the Security Council recognised the role of this process.
Secondly, every effort must be made to ensure an enabling environment in which Libyan society will fully exercise its political and civil rights in future elections in all its diversity. The nomination of more women to political office is an important factor. In this regard, we are concerned about acts of violence against women participating in public life and political processes. It is essential that female candidates for political office, as well as elected representatives, are able to contribute to political processes at all levels, free from threats or reprisals.
Thirdly, Switzerland wishes to express its concern about restrictions on civil society, including bureaucratic restrictions. In particular, Switzerland is concerned about reports of recent arrests under the new cybercrime law. These new developments are taking place against a background of shrinking space for civil society, resulting in particular from increased surveillance by security agencies. Furthermore, we welcome the efforts to reunify the Commission for Civil Society. It is an essential condition for establishing a safe, democratic and unrestricted space for Libyan society and international organisations operating in Libya.
Last October, this Council unanimously renewed UNMIL's mandate. We will need to show the same unity in order to support the implementation of the new proposals of the Special Representative with regard to the upcoming elections in Libya. Let us maintain this unity and coherence in order to ensure the much needed support to the Libyan people on their path towards peace and democracy.