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The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath$
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Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210960.001.0001

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The United Nations’ Role in the First Year of the Transition

The United Nations’ Role in the First Year of the Transition

(p.127) 6 The United Nations’ Role in the First Year of the Transition
The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath

Ian Martin

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the UN’s role in post-conflict Libya, from planning to the launching and first year of UNSMIL. It addresses three main areas of UN engagement: the General National Congress (GNC) election; security sector; and human rights and transitional justice. It discusses difficult issues confronting the UN, including: engaging Libyans while the outcome of the conflict was unknown; drawing the line between international good practice and national ownership of decisions regarding the electoral system; engagement in sensitive areas of the security sector; and uphold UN values regarding human rights and empowering women in a context combining revolutionary zeal and traditional culture. It describes how the UN sought to maintain a light footprint and deliver targeted assistance. It argues that the greatest achievement was the successful GNC election and the greatest failure was poor progress in the security sector. The UN’s hope at the end of the transition’s first year was that a democratically elected legislature would truly represent long-separated communities and tackle security and integrating revolutionaries. But limitations existed on what could be achieved in that year without a stronger more democratically legitimate government in place, and without dialogue between government and leaders of revolutionary battalions.

Keywords:   Libya, stabilization, United Nations, statebuilding, Arab Spring, institutions, elections, security sector reform, human rights, transitional justice

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