Feasibility study to establish a shelter for GBV survivors

Tags: Human Rights Covid-19 Law UNDP English language humanitarian law Environment
  • Added Date: Wednesday, 10 August 2022
7 Steps to get a job in the United Nations

Job title:

Feasibility study to establish a shelter for GBV survivors

Duty Station:

Tripoli, Benghazi. Libya

Duration of initial contract:

30 days


International Consultant (Team Leader)

Hiring Manager:

EUTF Project Manager

    1. Context

      Libya continues to struggle to cope with the effects of ongoing armed conflict, economic and governance crises, and the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 that has resulted in the deterioration of public services and peopleโ€™s livelihoods (HRP, 2021) and displacement (HNO, 2021). According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO, 2022 - KEY FINDINGS), it is estimated that 804K people are identified to be in need of humanitarian assistance including migrants (28,8%), IDPs (16,4%) and returnees (14,3%). This is the result of a deterioration or partial collapse of living standards and basic services, an increased reliance on the use of negative coping strategies and widespread grave violations of human rights and significant impact on physical and mental wellbeing.

      The crisis in Libya has a strong protection dimension, with violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including conflict related sexual violence and grave violations against children, and civilian infrastructure. Serious human rights concerns have been persisting in Libya, as violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the course of the conflict continued to be committed with impunity (HNO, 2022).

      Weak institutional structures and concrete action to ensure accountability for conflict-related and other human rights violations and abuses, undermines efforts to create a protective environment Libyans who live in conflict-affected areas sustained widespread destruction to their property, forcing many to live in sub-standard conditions increasing the threat of disease, as well as GBV and other protection risks (HNO, 2022).

        1. Gender-Based Violence risks and needs

          Women and girls in Libya continue to face widespread and life-threatening risks of GBV.

          Social-cultural norms and patterns that condone GBV and discrimination against girls and women are widespread in Libya. Namely, gender roles are influenced by patriarchy, conservative religious views, and Bedouin traditions: the Libyan society at large still considers a womanโ€™s primary role to be in the house, be a mother and a wife and men are still held to be the โ€œauthorityโ€ and the ones who provide economic security and protection. When it comes to employment and work opportunities, women are less likely to be employed than men because of discrimination against women in the workplace. They face also movement restrictions, as they are four times more likely than men to have never left their homes alone. Displacement and economic problems increase risks of sexual exploitation and abuse and may exacerbate domestic violence. Essential GBV services - such as specialized case management, clinical management of rape, safe shelters, safety, security and legal assistance services โ€“ are extremely limited, and survivors face many barriers in accessing even those services that are in place. For example, some survivors do not seek help because they know they will have to go back to their houses after having denounced the violence due to the lack of safe shelter options. Movement restrictions, related to insecurity, pandemic control measures, lack of financial resources, and cultural norms according to which women can only leave house accompanied or with the permission of a male familiar, hamper womenโ€™s access to services. Knowledge of services is limited, and widespread stigma associated with experiencing GBV can result in survivors becoming outcasts in their families and communities. Survivors also face challenges in securing childcare while they are seeking assistance. Moreover, the socio-economic and psychological pressures on households caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are resulting in increased domestic violence, especially against women and girls. Finally, there are no emergency shelters options for women at risk of GBV.

          In particular, it is estimated 153,000 people are most at risk of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Libya, of which 94% corresponds with severe needs, requiring sustained prevention and response services (HNO 2022). Most people facing GBV risks and in need of assistance are in Tripoli (21%) and are mainly migrants (42%), IDP (20%), members of the host community (17%), returnees (11%) and refugees (10%). Of the total, 59% are women and 30% are children. Most people facing GBV risks and in need of assistance are in Tripoli, representing 21% of all those in need (sources: HNO 2022).

          Migrants and refugees are identified as most in need of GBV protection assistance, with the highest number in Tripoli and Benghazi for migrants and Tripoli and Aljfara for refugees. Migrant and refugee women and girls are particularly at increased risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, especially those whose status has not been recognized and those who are in detention centers. Moreover, because of discrimination, movement restrictions, curfews, closures of services and limitation in social contacts, migrants and refugee women and girls face serious difficulties in accessing GBV-related services and thus, receiving timely and quality care (HRP 2021). What makes refugees and migrants most vulnerable is due to its status which by the introduction of Law no. 19 in 2010 marks a shift toward criminalization of migration in Libya. The law stipulates that irregular migrants should be presented to the prosecutor, charged 1,000 dinars or detained for three months, after which they should be deported. In practice, there is no formal judicial process in place, and children are frequently subjected to arbitrary detention together with adults for an indefinite period. Furthermore, Libya is not a State Party to the 1951 convention relating to the Status of Refugees, nor to its 1967 protocol. With Libyaโ€™s domestic legislation focused on combatting โ€œillegal migrationโ€ and its weak support of international asylum norms, every refugee and migrant who enters the country irregularly risks the violation of their right to protection.

          Gender-based violence against women and girls are simultaneously widely prevalent and an exceptionally taboo topic in Libyan society. That is why there is a lack of data and information on GBV in the country. According to available literature, some of the most common forms of GBV in Libya are related to harassment, physical and sexual assault. Rape and gender-based violence have been widely used as a weapon in the context of the Libyan conflict by combatants on both sides and sexual violence, including sexual torture, against female and male refugees and migrants appears widespread in Libya. Besides, instability, conflict, and lack of rule of law in Libya continued to allow for human trafficking of migrantsโ€™ which persist committing extreme violence and other human rights violations, including physical, and verbal assault, torture, sexual abuse and exploitation, rape, abduction for ransom, extortion, arbitrary killings, inhumane detention, and the recruitment and use of children. Child marriages are assumed to have increased while there is no systematic reporting such as no Demographic Health Surveys being conducted in Libya etc. They also serve as a financial coping mechanism, particularly within IDP and migrant communities, and are foreseen by families to ensure protection in times of instability.

            1. GBV-related legal framework

              Libya has national normative legislation related to womenโ€™s and girlโ€™s/childrenโ€™s rights, for instance, Libyaโ€™s Draft Constitution includes several sections on womenโ€™s rights and explicitly outlines the principle of equality between the genders. Also, Libyan labor legislation guarantees women certain rights in the workplace including freedom from discrimination, the right to maternity leave, and the right to employment. However, the normative framework is based on the Islamic Sharia which is considered the principal source of legislation (UNDP, 2018).

              Libya is a party to several international instruments that provide for gender equality under the law and promote womenโ€™s rights. However, the country maintains reservations to some articles of the CEDAW as well as a general reservation that accession cannot conflict with personal status laws derived from Sharia (UNDP, 2018). The government of Libya has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and through Law No. 2 of 1991, the government of Libya has its obligations to implement the provisions set in the CRC. However, the enforcement of the CRC is questionable and meanwhile the government is working on the harmonization and a drafting of a comprehensive child rights law with clear provisions condemning violence against children. Further in May/June 2021, the government of Libya has submitted its combined 3rd and 4th state party report on the CRC and its implementation status. Despite the aforementioned laws in favor of womenโ€™s and girlโ€™s rights and gender equality, the legal framework continues to be discriminatory and GBV forms are not fully recognized as a crime[2]. For instance: domestic violence (Libya doesnโ€™t have a domestic violence legislation), marital rape, honor crimes.

              1. Rationale of the Action

                The recommendations from the humanitarian community emphasized the need to set up an integrated emergency safe shelter. Emergency shelters are spaces that provide short or medium-term secure accommodation and emotional support for survivors, from a few days up to a few months.

                However, in light of the context, a feasibility study is needed in order to weigh that expressed need and scan existing opportunities to establish emergency shelters for women and girls following GBV guiding principles and global standards. It is within this background that UNFPA, under the framework of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) Programme, is seeking to carry out a feasibility study to establish a shelter for GBV survivors in Tripoli and Benghazi. This study will be conducted by a team of two external consultants, one international and one national. The international will act as team leader and is requested to take into consideration that the feasibility study of an integrated emergency safe shelter (Libyans and non-Libyans, women and children) should take into consideration that GBV survivors may be female, girls and boys migrants, refugees, IDP, returnees and/or members of the host community.[3]


                The overall objective of this study is to assess the feasibility and opportunity of establishing emergency shelters for GBV survivors and women and girls at risk of GBV (Libyans and non- Libyans) in Tripoli and Benghazi area (depending on the context and the security situation).

                The specific objective of this study is to:

                โ€ข Map and review existing GBV services, their quality and accessibility by survivors of gender-based violence and map and review the availability and use of referral GBV pathways. The mapping should be disaggregated by status (Libyan โ€“ IDPs, returnees, and non-Libyans โ€“ refugees, migrants and asylum seekers and those that are stateless) as accessibility and utilization differs depending on the status. Further given the sensitivity of GBV services disaggregation should include age and gender as well.

Recommended for you