The social security system dates from 1957, and has since been greatly expanded. Healthcare, like medicine, is free of charge. In 2009, there were 20 doctors and 37 hospital beds per 10,000 residents, and 5.5 percent of government spending went to health care. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of LBY and acronym for Libya.
In addition to free health care, there are a number of public health insurance, such as old-age pension, parental leave and sickness and occupational injury insurance. Everyone gets subsidized food, cheap housing and free education. In most cases, women have the same rights as men, but traditional patriarchal structures remain. About 25 percent of women are working and 8 percent of MPs are women. In terms of education, however, equality prevails and at the upper secondary level the girls are in the majority.
Support for liberation movements
Kaddafi’s attempt to form a united Arab bloc against the United States and the Soviet Union had finally collapsed in the late 1970s. From 1980, Libyan diplomats instead began extensive activities in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Libya supported Polisario in Western Sahara and participated directly in the civil war in Chad in support of GUNT (the National Union Transitional Government) led by Goukouni Oueddei.
Through a comprehensive international propaganda campaign, the United States linked Libya with “international terrorism”. This was the pretext that in August 1981 the United States Navy fired two Libyan aircraft over Sidra Bay. Khaddafi failed to respond violently and instead received political support from conservative Arab regimes who had previously been hostile to Tripoli.
In 1983, Libya began an approach to Morocco. The process culminated in August 84 with the signing of an agreement between the governments of the two countries. Morocco wanted to neutralize Libyan support for the liberation movement Polisario in Western Sahara, and Libya wanted to remove Morocco’s support for Hissan Habré’s regime in Chad.
In January 86, the United States accused Libya of involvement in terrorist acts, imposed a financial blockade on the country and bombed Tripoli and Benghazi in April. Dozens of civilians were killed. Subsequent information revealed that the US’s real goal had been to eliminate Major Khaddafi.
In November 91, the North American and British judiciary placed responsibility on the Libyan government for the 88 attack on the Pan Am plane that crashed in Lockerbie in Scotland and killed 270, as well as the UTA plane crash over Nigeria that cost 170 lives. Interpol issued arrest warrants against the two Libyan agents who were accused of being responsible for the actions. In January 92, Libya declared its readiness to cooperate with the UN on the resolution of the two assaults. Still, Khaddafi rejected an extradition request from the UN and suggested instead that a trial be conducted against the two in Tripoli.
Libya’s stance worsened relations with the UN, which renewed requests for extradition in February and March. At the same time, the UN issued an ultimatum to condemn “terrorism” until April 15, threatening sanctions, blockades and possible military intervention. The deadline was exceeded and the EU and the world’s 7 most industrialized countries imposed financial sanctions. Khaddafi responded by appealing to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In August, the embargo was renewed and Khaddafi therefore implemented a change in his foreign policy. He appointed a “moderate” to the foreign minister in the hope of approaching the Libyan and North American positions. In 1993, the country continued the liberalization of its economy, which had begun in 89 at the same time as diplomatic relations with Iran had been severed.
Libya’s international isolation was reinforced in 94 as the UN intensified the embargo. In domestic politics, however, this development merely provided greater support for the head of state, as it was the public opinion that it was the United States responsible for the country’s problems.
In the southern part of the country around Fezzan, the people showed their dissatisfaction with the handover to Chad of the Aouzou land area. The transfer took place following a judgment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Tripoli started an old project when an agreement was signed on the construction of aqueducts for importing water from neighboring countries.
Libya’s isolation continued through 95 despite numerous attempts to resume dialogue with the West. However, the isolation did not prevent the private sector from growing or continuing foreign investment, which was mainly concentrated in oil exploration. Despite the embargo, the country benefited from the 40% increase in oil prices that broke through in the second half of 96. That same year, parts of the aqueduct were opened to supply the people in remote areas of the desert with water.
In 1997, Libya gradually began to break its international isolation in an attempt to lift the embargo. For the first time, three UN Security Council members – Egypt, Guinea Bissau and Kenya – asked for a mission to be sent to Tripoli to assess the situation. At the same time, the Alliance Free Movement and the African Unity Organization, the OAU, supported a Libyan proposal to bring a lawsuit against the two terrorists accused of liberty in a neutral country.
In October, South Africa formally asked the UN to lift the embargo after Nelson Mandela visited Libya in an attempt to mediate in the conflict. Mandela stated in favor of the Libyan position, but at the same time made it clear that he did not demand an “unconditional” lifting of the sanctions. Still, the Security Council renewed the month after the sanctions.
In March 98, Tripoli achieved a first international legal victory when the International Court of Justice declared itself competent to deal with Libya’s complaint about the economic embargo. The decision sparked a power struggle between the Security Council and the Court. After protracted multilateral negotiations, Britain and the United States proposed that the two Libyan accused in the Lockerbie assault be brought before a court in The Hague with Scottish judges and have their case dealt with under Scottish law. Finally, in March 1999, Libya accepted this proposal, and the Security Council in April lifted the sanctions that had been in effect since 1992. The lawsuit began in 2000, and in January 2001, one of the two accused Libyans was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In September 1999, over 20 African and Arab leaders participated in the 30th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution in Tripoli – among them the Presidents of South Africa, Palestine, Algeria and Zambia. 15 years after severing diplomatic relations with the country, in December 99 London accredited an ambassador to Tripoli.
Libya took advantage of the abolished sanctions for a diplomatic offensive in the region. The country offered to mediate in the conflict in Sudan and resume dialogue with Chad. In March 2000, the United States sent a senior delegation to the country to look into the possibility of lifting the ban on investment and travel to Libya, which had been in effect since 1981.
Among the African countries, in 2001, Libya was at the forefront of the UNDP’s human development index – mainly due to its oil production. In recent years, there have been a series of clashes between Libyans and migrant immigrants from other African countries. In September 2000, such clashes cost 50 lives. There are about 1 million emigrants in the country from other parts of Africa.
Following a failed coup attempt in the Central African Republic in May 2001, Libya sent soldiers there to provide protection to President Patassé. In November, the president had to seek Libyan assistance again. When peace was restored, the Central African people demanded that the Libyan soldiers be withdrawn for fear that their stay in the country would otherwise be prolonged.
In August 2001, the United States extended its sanctions against Libya and Iran for another 5 years. The Bush government argued that the purpose was for these countries to fund terrorism, but the decision did not resonate in Europe. Under US sanctions law, any company that invests over $ 20 million US $ annually in the oil industry in one of the two countries, or setting up subsidiaries there, will be penalized by the US.