“I WANT… in my Constitution”

“Nabi F Dusturi” is an initiative supported by UNDP within its project Assistance to Building a Constitution in Libya. The initiative was launched in January 2013 as part of the “Open Dialogue for Libya’s New Constitution Towards an Inclusive and Democratic Social Contract” project, funded by UNDP and implemented by the local NGO Forum for Democratic Libya (FDL)

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  • The five-month project is the first of its kind implemented in Libya in the context of the constitution-making process
  • Combines civic education with dialogue workshops, bringing together various stakeholders including heads of tribes, civilian and military councils, GNC members, political and social activists and CSOs
  • Trained 15 Ruwad, who carried out public workshops on constitution and facilitating dialogues
  • Developed five briefs on citizen’s expectations on constitutional issues and made it available to the public, including the policy makers
  •  Designed a 54 page toolkit that provides facilitators with the knowledge, competencies, and requirements needed to understand and manage dialogues around Libya’s new Constitution
  • Reached out to more than 1,000 Libyans directly in more than 15 cities through the dialogue sessions that took place in the South, East and West of Libya

One of the particularly interesting sessions conducted through the project was in Jado; a town 180 km southwest of Tripoli and inhabited largely by Amazighs. The main questions raised during the session were related to identity, language and freedom of Islamic doctrine – top priority considerations for the people of Jado. Participants also included people from other cities within Nefousa Mountains.

“This is more important to us than food and water” said one of the participants during the discussion sessions. “We want to continue preserving our language and have the freedom to practice our religious beliefs,” he added.

It is worth noting that the native language for the Nefousa mountains population is Amazigh and they follow the Ibadi sect  of Islam. Despite their strong attachment to their ethnicity and language, they are proud of their Libyan identity and some even consider themselves as the indigenous people in Libya.

The session in Jado was a live example on how UNDP is empowering minorities and vulnerable groups to voice their concerns and take part in the decision making process and the drafting of the new Libyan constitution.

UNDP is working closely across the country with FDL on engaging Libyans who represent various ethnic groups and political opinions, in dialogue sessions on the constitution. This pioneering project will encourage grassroots involvement in the drafting of the constitution and will guarantee that the new law will reflect the views of the Libyan population.

During project implementation, 15 sessions were held in different parts of the country. Through the sessions, participants including youth, women, elderly, religious leaders, and other community members, were able to present their concerns, comments, proposals and recommendations on the New Libyan Constitution. The recommendations were developed around five areas related to the content of the future constitution and were prepared in a form of five briefs summarising dialogue outputs. These documents are addressed to future Constitution Drafting Assembly and cover governance systems; public freedoms; management of wealth and resources; justice and tolerance; immigration and Naturalization.

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