Libyan flag over protests.
(photo credit: AP)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Tuesday for an
international investigation into the violent actions of the Libyan government
against its own citizens and for an immediate halt to its grave human rights
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“The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their
hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protesters is unconscionable.
I am extremely worried that lives are being
lost even as I speak,” Pillay said.
“The international community must
unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure
justice is rendered to the thousands of victims of this
There have been reports that machine guns, snipers and
military planes were used against demonstrators, Pillay said.
be a full investigation into such acts, she said, and added that the resources
of her office could be used toward such an investigation.
the UN in Geneva, a number of UN human rights experts also said that the actions
of the Libyan government could amount to “crimes against humanity.”
acts cannot go unpunished,” stressed the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary execution, Christof Heyns.
“By engaging in a
massacre of its own people, the government of Libya is guilty of committing
gross violations of human rights which could amount to crimes against humanity,”
“We are also dismayed at reports of the alleged involvement
of foreign ‘mercenaries’ in the killing of protesters, which is utterly
reprehensible,” underscored José Luis Gómez del Prado, chairperson-rapporteur of
the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries.
El Hadji Malick Sow,
Chair-Rapporteur for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, said he was
concerned by reports that lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists had
“In addition, it appears that the authorities are
attempting to restrict the dissemination of information on the atrocities being
committed by cutting off landlines, Internet access and restricting media
coverage,” said the special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and
expression, Frank La Rue.
“It is important that the Libyan authorities
realize that those responsible could be prosecuted by international criminal
justice mechanisms or through universal jurisdiction,” warned the special
rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, Juan Méndez.