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Last edited: November 2005


Summary and Analysis


Libya acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in April of 1993 with no reservations or declarations.  The Convention does not carry the force of law in Libya.


There is very little specific information pertaining to Libya's implementation of Article 12 of the CRC with respect to the child's right to be heard in protective proceedings. General constitutional and governing principles indicate the state's great interest in the development and protection of the family. The Libyan government, in theory, is a unique combination of socialism and Islam, developed by the de facto chief of state, Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi. Qadhafi's political treatise, The Green Book, and Islamic shari'ah law are the bases of Libya's political system. The most relevant statute for our purposes is the Child Protection and Welfare Ordinance of 1991, which recognizes the right to terminate guardianship on humanitarian and social grounds where the guardian fails to perform his obligations to a child.[2] Research has not indicated that Shari'ah speaks to our issue, but it is concerned with issues of family and the treatment of children generally. Shari'ah laws concerning children focus on guardianship, and the rights of the child to nurturance. Guardianship of upbringing through the age of dependence is the responsibility of female household members. In Libya, the age of majority is eighteen and the minimum marriage age is twenty, for both males and females. A mother's custody ends at marriage for her daughters and puberty for her sons.


The child protective system in Libya is primarily informal, as social customs and Islamic law ultimately govern in matters of guardianship, trusteeship and custodianship. Social norms such as an aversion to government intrusion in the home and a great degree of parental deference on the part of the child are obstacles in the development of an extensive child protective system. Some formal structures do exist, however. Children's programs are run through local administrations, not a central institution, and therefore vary widely. The Higher Committee for Children is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a national level.


Despite our efforts, we were unable to locate a contact person for Libya.



Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)




Constitutional Proclamation[3]


Article 13

Freedom of Opinion is guaranteed within the limits of public interest and the principles of the Revolution.


Article 30

Everyone has the right to resort to the courts in accordance with the law.




Social Security Act No. 13 of 1980[4]

Article 29

For children without a care[taker], social security shall provide alternative social care services in residential nurseries and social welfare institutions for boys and girls who are without a provider, as society is the protector of those who have no protector.


Promotion of Freedom Act[5]

Article 8

Every citizen has the right to express his opinions and ideas and proclaim them publicly at the people's congresses and through the media of the Jamahiriya. No citizen is answerable for his exercise of this right unless he exploits it in order to detract from the people's authority or for personal ends.


Article 82

The most appropriate principles of Islamic law shall apply in matters of guardianship, trusteeship and custodianship in cases where this Act makes no special provision.



Additional Resources and Links


Tahir Mahmood, Statutes of Personal Law in Islamic Countries: History, Texts and Analysis (India and Islam Research Council, 2d rev. ed. 1995) (1987).


Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, The Green Book (Public Establishment for Publishing, Advertising and Distribution 1998), available at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8744/readgb.htm.



[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: initial reports of States parties due in 1995: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, U.N. Doc CRC/C/28/Add.6 (May 23, 1996), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[3] Constitutional Proclamation (Libya), available at http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ly00000_.html available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: second periodic reports of States parties due in 2000: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, U.N. Doc CRC/C/93/Add.1 (September 19, 2002), available as .pdf Document.

[5] Id.



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