As we noted in a prior report on the risk of honor killings and rape in Libya, this is the population from which a tolerant, pluralistic civil society is supposed to spring forth now that it’s no longer hindered by a lone autocratic weirdo. A democracy is only as good as the values that inform its participants, and therein lies peril for human rights in Libya in the near future.
The National Transitional Council’s draft constitution enshrines Sharia as the source of legislation. Despite the law’s brutal and specific punishments for other acts it defines as criminal, a parent who kills a child may face no penalty at all under Sharia.
It is all too likely that the NTC will kick the can down the road on women’s rights to avoid specifics on the issue, saying it has more pressing matters to attend to, just as Egyptian women were told “their concerns were not urgent in the aftermath of the uprising.” “Father slit throats of three daughters in ‘honour killing’ after they were raped by Gaddafi’s troops,” by Liz Hazelton for the Daily Mail, August 30:
A father slit the throat of his three teenage daughters in an “˜honour killing” after they were raped by Gaddafi loyalists during the siege of the port city of Misrata.
Allegations of the shocking executions are contained in a report by the respected Physicians for Human Rights group into war crimes and atrocities in the embattled city, which faced two months of being cut off from the rest of Libya.
The father is said to have carried out the “˜honour killings” because of his humiliation and shame at the rape of the sisters — aged 15, 17 and 18 — in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named. […]
A stable society is not possible where killing is acceptable to relieve “humiliation and shame.”
Richard Sollom, who was the lead author on the report, concluded that no one had evidence that rape was widespread – but the fear of sexual assault was endemic.
The assailants know the girls’ and women’s lives are over after they have been raped. They are essentially killing them twice.
Researchers also heard reports of suspected honour killings – including the murder of the three sisters by their father.
But PHR also noted that ‘some in Tomina have stood up against this practice, including a well-known sheik who has publicly advocated for raped women and girls to be seen as brave and bringing honor to their families’….
Common sense sometimes prevails over the brutal idiocy of punishing the victim, but the nature of future laws in Libya could make it more difficult to challenge the status quo.