Authorities in Eastern Libya have ordered a temporary freeze on women under the age of 60 from traveling abroad alone. This ban includes all women traveling alone via land, air and sea without a male chaperone.
The original order was widely ridiculed. The authorities insisted it was to prevent women from contacting foreign intelligence services, however there was no evidence to this claim.
The director and co-founder of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, Zahra’ Langhi, told Newsweek that the ban is “appalling” and that high-ranking women are fleeing the country through unofficial routes.
Three weeks after the ban was implemented, a revised version has come to surface. The new order preventing men and women ages 18-45 in Eastern Libya from travelling abroad without obtaining security clearance.
Libya is in an ongoing crisis and there is struggle for power among many groups.
So a country in turmoil, is restricting its citizens the ability to leave.
There is very little main stream media coverage on this. Social media has been a large tool for women to spread information. There is a tricky balancing act of keeping the country safe, while not infringing on personal freedom. The original order that banned all women was straight up ridiculous. However, this amendment to the original order is being seen in both a positive and negative light.
Women are fighting for their voices to be heard. They have established a community on FaceBook to promote upcoming events and rallies. In a country of turmoil, women are still fighting for themselves.
Travel is not just about glamorous vacations and exploring the world. If you have the chance to do that in your life, you are among the minority. Many women need the right to travel just for their chance of a future. Freedom to travel to some women, means freedom to survive.