Though the details surrounding the announcement are hazy, Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said Wednesday that the country had created a law that would acknowledge the women raped during the 2011 uprising that removed Muammar Qaddafii from power, as well as compensate them.
"This group (of women) is weak and needs our care," Marghani said, according to Reuters. "It (the law) will give them many rights... and cover also compensation."
In 2011, the International Criminal Court said that they believed Qaddafi had ordered the rape of "hundreds" of women in order to punish and deter those rebelling. Qaddafi and his sons also reportedly raped their female bodyguards. In his 2011 address about the situation, President Obama acknowledged the journalists that have been sexually assaulted while reporting in Libya as well.
This new law would treat women who have been sexually assaulted as if they were were wounded former rebel fighters, though it's not clear what exactly their compensation will be. It could be medical care, financial assistance or improved living situations. Whatever they'll get, this is a big win for Libyan women, some of whom have feared that they would be sued themselves for being raped. It's still a small step, however, in the ongoing struggle to quell unrest in the region. Just last week, Amnesty International accused the Libyan government of upholding Qaddafi-era laws against freedom of expression, noting that they'd recently made it illegal to criticize the "17 February Revolution" or insult government officials. They also reported that attacks on journalists in the region have escalated.
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