Media Releases

Alaa Murabit, Voice of Libyan Women co-founder, to keynote “Sexual Violence in the Recent Conflicts in Libya and Syria” conference on Feb. 8, 2013

February 7, 2013

What are the challenges to protecting victims and pursuing accountability?

TORONTO, ON – Twenty-three year old Alaa Murabit, co-founder of the grassroots movement Voice of Libyan Women, will be the keynote speaker on Feb. 8, 2013 at an international conference highlighting the issue of sexual violence in the wake of the Arab Spring.

“Sexual Violence in the Recent Conflicts in Libya and Syria,” hosted jointly by the Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program and the U of T Munk Centre of Global Affairs, will discuss the challenges of documenting cases of sexual violence against both women and men, supporting survivors, pursuing accountability in international criminal law and the role of the international community in responding to these unfolding human rights abuses.

Murabit, in training to be a medical doctor, has visited remote areas of Libya to hear stories of sexual violence directly from women. She advocates for Libyan women’s political participation and economic empowerment, and is currently drafting a “women’s charter.”

Other speakers include: Dr. Laila Bugaighis, medical director of the Benghazi Medical Centre, and political and human rights activist; Lauren Wolfe, journalist and director of Women Under Siege, a project that uses innovative crowd-source mapping to document sexual violence in Syria; and U.S. Ambassador Patricia M. Haslach who will speak about the international community’s role in preventing and documenting cases of sexual violence.

View the full list of speakers, including human rights defenders, academics, international lawyers and policy makers from around the globe. Read the backgrounder on the issues.

EVENT INFO:                                      

WHAT: Voice of Libyan Women co-founder, Alaa Murabit, to keynote “Sexual Violence in the Recent Conflicts in Libya and Syria” conference

WHEN: Friday, February 8, 2013; 8:30 am – 5 pm (Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.)

WHERE: University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Flavelle House, Bennett Lecture Hall, 78 Queen’s Park Crescent [Museum subway stop] (Map:

RSVP: Seating is limited; media are asked to RSVP to

INFO: International Human Rights Program

The conference is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Law and Development Program at the Faculty of Law, Human Rights Watch Canada, the Canadian Libyan Council and the Journal of International Law and International Relations.


For more information, contact:

Lucianna Ciccocioppo, BA, MA (Journalism)
Director, External Relations / Executive Editor, Nexus
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
84 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON Canada
Follow us: @UTLaw and our Dean: @mayomoran