Libyan President Magarief Attends Libya Platform for Peace Conference and Accepts Policy Recommendations from Civil Society Leaders

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Dialogue on National Reconciliation, Security and the Constitution delivered same day as Benghazi hearings on Capitol Hill. Conference Convened by Karama Organization.

As key law makers in Washington DC gathered on Capitol Hill Thursday for hearings on the attack in Benghazi that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens, the Karama organization announced today a special session for Libyan civil society leaders to present their recommendations on security, the constitution and other key issues to president-elect of Libya's General National Congress, Mohammed Magarief.

Calling for “more of the type of dialogue we have seen here today,” Magarief said, "the true platform for peace, in the family, in society, in the region comes from the individual’s feeling of inner peace in his family." The conference titled, "Libya Platform for Peace: National Reconciliation, Security and Constitution," was being convened by Karama, UN Women and the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace.

In making the announcement Karama's founder, Hibaaq Osman said, "Having President-elect Magarief deliver his remarks about Libya's reconciliation, and long term security while much of the country still faces the threat of armed revolutionaries and no rule of law, is hugely important for long term stability. It is particularly timely given the Benghazi investigation." The 3 day conference in Tripoli, was attended by revolutionaries, intelligence officials, and newly elected female parliamentarians.

The issue of women and their rights was a key element of the conference, given women make up 56% of Libya's population. In July, when Libya held its first post Gadaffi elections, the country's first since 1952, one of the biggest signs of progress was for the inclusion and representation of women who won approximately 16.5 percent of seats.

"Creating a platform for people from different backgrounds to build consensus is what we want to achieve here," said Zahra Langhi, co-founder of Libyan Women's Platform for Peace. Fellow attendee, Benghazi resident, Hana el Gallal who lead many of the revolutionaries in the fight to overthrow Gadaffi said, "We saw inequality with Gadaffi. Now we are fighting for our own rights. It's a long path and we will do it slowly. Freedom is a fight. It's not given to us."

Added Ms. Osman, "While security turmoil and uncertainty continue, having President-elect Magarief confront them head on at this conference with numerous parties involved in the revolution is a major step in the right direction. As we have seen in the Arab uprisings across the region women have been at the forefront of change. Their voices are being heard, and now the President and other key decision makers in Libya are listening."

Hussein bin Hamid, a revolutionary commander participating in the conference added, “At this conference we have the opportunity to discuss sensitive and important points on the current situation in Libya, and we hope that government officials and responsible leaders will take our recommendations into consideration." Karama, the Arabic word for dignity, is an organization based in Cairo, Egypt which envisions a democratic Arab society free of all forms of violence and discrimination and violence, based on equal rights and citizenship. Karama's partners include organizations in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.

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Nicolla Hewitt