The European Union’s foreign affairs chief has called on Libya to protect women’s rights in law as the country moves towards democracy.
Catherine Ashton made her appeal during a whirlwind visit to Tripoli to launch the EU’s mission, which is meant to help coordinate aid efforts in Libya.
“To be here now to inaugurate the EU Delegation building is a symbol of the continuing support of the European Union and a symbol of our continuing respect for the people of Libya and our aspirations for their future,” Ashton told an audience of mainly women.
Some human rights groups have expressed concerns that the National Transitional Council’s stated aim of introducing a “moderate” Islamic Sharia Law may be detrimental to women.
Since the Gaddafi regime ended, the EU has been the biggest contributor of humanitarian assistance in Libya, donating some 155 million euros so far, according to EU diplomats.