UN Security Council condemns Libyan violence

Ban Ki-moon says some of the events in Libya “appear to be clear violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

February 24, 2011 02:48
3 minute read.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to media

Ban Ki-moon speaking 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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In a tempered statement issued to the press after a closed-door meeting, the UN Security Council on Tuesday night condemned the violence in Libya, calling for its immediate end and for those responsible to be held accountable.

But its statement fell short of others the UN issued that day, including by its Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who said that some of the events in Libya “appear to be clear violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

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In Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an international probe into the violence.

Ban’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Francis Deng said that if the “reported nature and scale of such attacks are confirmed, they may well constitute crimes against humanity.”

Speaking to reporters in New York, Libyan Deputy Ambassador to the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi said the Security Council statement “is not strong enough, but any message to the Libyan government is good.” A “genocide” had started in Libya, he said, and the people in the cities in the western part of the country were under attack.

The United Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, defended the Security Council’s statement and said that he and others would raise the issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Libya is one of 47 member states.

One reporter asked, “Don’t you think it would have delivered a more positive message to the Libyan people if you came up with a stronger statement?” “It is an extremely strong statement. It is agreed by all 15 members of the Security Council, and I think its strength is both in its substance and the fact that it is a united message from the international community, Grant said.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

But does it address the serious charge of genocide the Libyan ambassador just made? another reporter asked.

“It did underline the importance of the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect its civilian population.

We are keeping the events under very close review, and no doubt we will be meeting again and will be reviewing what measure would be appropriate in light of events,” Grant said.

In Washington, top US lawmakers said that their country and the international community must take a much stronger stand when it comes to Libya. They called on the UN to strip Libya of its membership in the Human Rights Council.

“The United States and other free democratic nations should impose economic sanctions, including freezing assets of the regime and imposing a ban on travel for all senior regime officials and their families,” said Rep.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The UN must finally end the disgrace of Libya’s inclusion as a member of the Human Rights Council and send a clear signal that Gaddafi and his cadre will be held accountable for their serial human rights violations,” she added in a statement she issued to the press.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) said that all American and international oil companies should stop their Libyan operations, and the US should consider re-imposing the sanctions it had once levied against Libya.

The Security Council should levy temporary sanctions against Libya, including an arms embargo. The UN should also appoint a special investigator on human rights to look into the incidents in Libya, Kerry said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that her country was watching the Libyan situation “with alarm.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost and their loved ones, and we join the international community in strongly condemning the violence, as we’ve received reports of hundreds killed and many more injured.

“This bloodshed is completely unacceptable. It is the responsibility of the government of Libya to respect the universal rights of their own people,” Clinton said.

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