*LFJL Welcomes the General National Congress’s (GNC) Announcement to Initiate the Selection Process for the Constitutional Drafting Committee

November 13, 2012

The General National Congress of Libya (the GNC) announced Sunday that it will begin to discuss procedures that will determine the selection of members of the Constitutional Drafting Committee (the Committee). The Committee will comprise of 60 members chosen by the GNC. LFJL welcomes this step and the renewed focus on the constitutional drafting process.

The constitution will become the supreme law of Libya and the single most important document determining the rights of the Libyan people. During this process, it is essential that the Libyan people develop a sense of ownership and a sense of active citizenship to ensure that Libya’s next constitution reflects all its people and, more importantly, so that every Libyan feels that the constitution is his or hers and finds protection within its structure. Their active engagement and inclusion in the process is essential to its success.

LFJL calls on the GNC to ensure the selection process for the Committee members is not only fair and transparent, but also representative of all Libyan people. The Committee should reflect the Libyan people, not only geographically, but also through their issues, concerns, beliefs and aspirations. LFJL further calls on the GNC to consult, engage, and liase with civil society, both in selecting the Committee and in the drafting process after. Civil society organisations provide the critical link between governmental processes and citizens through outreach and public education and will ensure the active participation of citizens. The GNC must give civil society the opportunity to voice and protect the issues that matter most to the Libyan people.

LFJL’s Destoori initiative, launched in July 2012, will soon embark on the Rehlat Watan Tour this month. The Rehlat Watan Tour will travel to cities and towns across Libya to educate Libyan citizens, in particular those in disenfranchised regions of the country, about the constitution, its processes, and their rights within it. By educating citizens, LFJL aims to encourage people to voice their concerns to the Committee and participate in the public referendum. On this tour, LFJL will also gauge public opinion of what the Libyan people expect their constitution to do and protect. This will provide a forum for dialogue and an opportunity for LFJL to obtain an understanding of the key issues citizens would like to see addressed in their constitution. LFJL looks forward to sharing its findings from the Libyan people with the the Committee.

“For 42 years, Libyans were disenfranchised from the processes that governed them”, said LFJL Director Elham Saudi. “For this reason, the GNC has a responsibility to select the members of the Committee in a way that is truly representative of the Libyan people. The Libyan people fought and died to have their rights to dignity, freedom, justice, and equality enshrined in Libya. The Libyans of today – and of the future – deserve a lasting constitution that will preserve those rights,” added Director Elham Saudi. “LFJL is committed to ensuring that during this process the interests of Libyan people are the priority.”

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