France on Monday said it would keep a watchful eye on Libya’s respect for human rights after the head of the country’s interim government, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, said that the system of Islamic sharia will be the fundamental source of legislation in the new Libya.
“We will be watchful of respect for human rights and democratic principles, notably cultural and religious diversity and the equality of men and women to which France is unswervingly attached,” France foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
Discussions are under way on forming Libya’s next interim government and a decision is expected in about two weeks, the head of its National Transitional Council said on Monday.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the council would discuss next week who would lead the new government; the individual will replace Mahmoud Jibril, who stepped down at the weekend.
Abdel Jalil, who on Sunday said Libya had taken Islamic shariah law as its source of legislation, tried to assuage concerns that the country would drift toward religious extremism.
“I want to assure the international community that we as Libyans are moderate Muslims,” he said.
The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, had said the introduction of shariah law in Libya must respect human rights.
Asked for comment on the impact on women of polygamy and a ban on divorce, Ashton's spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, said, “We expect the new Libya to be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.”