25 February 2011
Delegation of Libya addresses the Council, saying the will of the people is invincible
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Libya.
Resolution S-15/L.1, adopted by consensus without a vote, calls on the Libyan government to, among other things, immediately release all arbitrarily detained persons, stop attacks against civilians, cease intimidation, persecution and arbitrary arrests of individuals, ensure the safety of all civilians including citizens of third countries, cease blocking internet and telecommunications networks and to respect the popular will, aspirations and demands of the people. The resolution also reminded Libya of its obligations as a Member of the Human Rights Council to uphold the highest standards of human rights and to guarantee the access of human rights and humanitarian organizations to the country.
The resolution also calls for the Human Rights Council to dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to Libya to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in the country.
Before the adoption of the resolution, the Human Rights Council continued a debate that it had begun that morning with Libya being the first country to address the body at the beginning of afternoon session. The delegation from Libya asked for a moment of silence for all those who had died in the country in the past weeks. Libya asked the members of the Organization of Islamic Conference to stand for a moment to read from the Koran in memory of the martyrs that died in the 15 February revolution. Libya said that history had shown that the will of the people was invincible and the memory of people was stronger than those who bore hatchets. The Libyan people, the grandchildren of the heroes of the Italian fascist revolution, were now writing a new chapter in the struggle against oppression. The delegation emphasized that the Libyan mission had decided to represent and serve the Libyan people and not the regime.
Libya’s speech was met with a round of applause in the Council chamber and several delegations later praised Libya’s courage and willingness to appear before the Council today.
During the afternoon discussion Observer States and non-governmental organizations took the floor to say that they considered the ongoing coercion and oppression in Libya as a humanitarian catastrophe which went against Islamic and human values. They called on the Libyan authorities to stop the violence against innocent Libyans immediately and unconditionally and address their claims peacefully and through serious dialogue. The situation in Libya warranted an urgent response by the Human Rights Council and it would be a litmus test for the ability of that body to deal with situations of gross systematic violations of human rights. The Council must establish an independent and international investigation into alleged serious human rights violations in Libya which would be the first necessary step towards the full criminal accountability of persons responsible for such violations.
The passage of the resolution came after a full day of discussion during this Special Session, which was the first to be convened concerning a sitting member of the Human Rights Council. During the morning session the Council heard from the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay, Gomez del Prado, the Chair of the Working Group on the use of Mercenaries who spoke on behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council, and numerous Member and Observer States.
In this afternoon’s meeting Libya spoke as a concerned State.
Also speaking this afternoon were representatives of the following Observer States: the Organization of Islamic Conference, Bulgaria, the Holy See, Canada, Denmark, Palestine, Liechtenstein, Israel, New Zealand, Lithuania, Paraguay, Lebanon, Romania, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Portugal, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Afghanistan, Sudan, Colombia, South Africa, the Philippines, the League of Arab States, the African Union, Venezuela, Botswana, Sweden, Iran, Luxembourg, Nepal, Ecuador and Mauritania.
Representatives from several non-governmental organizations also took the floor, including: Mouvement Contre le Racisme et Pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples (MRAP); CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Arab NGO Network; the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues; the International Commission for Jurists; Reporters without Borders International; Human Rights Watch; United Nations Watch; North-South XXI; the Cairo Institute for Human Rights; the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Amnesty International; and the Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development.
Speaking in a general comment after the vote was Nigeria on behalf of the African Group.
The Council will reconvene on Monday, 28 February at 10 a.m. to begin its scheduled 16th Session which will run for four weeks until 25 March.
Statements by Observer States
ADEL SHALTUT, (Libya), called for a moment of silence for all those who had died in Libya. Libya asked that the members of the Organization of Islamic Conference stand for a moment to read from the Koran in memory of the martyrs that died in the 15 February revolution. Libya said that the will of people was invincible, as history had shown, and that the memory of the people would be stronger than those who bore the hatchets. The Libyan people, who were the grandchildren of the heroes of the Italian fascist revolution, were now writing a new chapter in the struggle against oppression. Libya emphasized that the mission had decided to represent and serve the Libyan people and not the regime.
MOJTABA AMIRI VAHID, (Organization of Islamic Conference), said the OIC strongly condemned the excessive use of force against civilians in the Arab Libyan Jamahiriya which had resulted in the death and injury of a large number of innocent people. The OIC considered the ongoing coercion and oppression in Libya as a humanitarian catastrophe which was against Islamic and human values. The OIC called on the Libyan authorities to stop the violence against innocent Libyans immediately and unconditionally and emphasized the need to address their claims peacefully through serious dialogue. The OIC General Secretariat emphasized that peoples had the right to express their legitimate claims in a peaceful manner and the OIC strongly backed the call for a fact finding mission to perform an assessment on the ground of the human rights situation in Libya, which would start its assignment entrusted by the Council, in the eastern part of Libya, including Benghazi.
NADIA KRASTEVA, (Bulgaria), was concerned about the situation in Libya and the continuing violence. Bulgaria strongly condemned the violence and use of force against civilians and considered the use of arms against civilians totally unacceptable. Bulgaria called on the Libyan authorities to respect human rights and international humanitarian law and the basic rights of the Libyan people, including freedom of the press and assembly.
The delegation said there were currently Bulgarian citizens residing in the country and demanded Libya release those who wished to leave the country. They supported prompt action by the Human Rights Council in response to the urgency of the situation and they demanded a credible investigation into the violence. The resolution on Libya would be upheld by Bulgaria.
SILVANO TOMASI, (Holy See), said that the current crisis in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was particularly worrying because of the unwarranted loss of human lives, the targeting of citizens and the lack of respect for peaceful protestors and the indiscriminate use of force. The Holy See reaffirmed that the primary responsibility of the State was the protection of its citizens and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and that the delegation supported all efforts at bringing together all parties involved in honest dialogue, including demonstrators and the Libyan authorities, to prevent any further violence. The Holy See expressed their concern for those most vulnerable in this crisis, the asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrant workers from Sub Saharan Africa, who were at risk of being made a scapegoat of accumulated frustrations.
ALISON LECLAIRE CHRISTIE, (Canada), said Canada deplored the loss of life and extended its condolences to the families of the victims. Canada said that both Libya’s leader and his son had threatened their own people with even more bloodshed unless they ceased demonstrating. Canada said that the Council must condemn in the strongest terms these gross and systematic violations of human rights and send a unanimous message that the attacks on innocents and civilians would stop immediately. Canada called on the Libyan authorities to respect its international human rights obligations and engage in a peaceful dialogue with all parts of society that resulted in democratic reforms and respect for human rights and exercise restraint. Canada urged the Council to unanimously adopt the draft resolution before it today. The international community must ensure that those responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights were held accountable.
STEFFEN SMIDT, (Denmark), said that Denmark had strongly condemned the recent grave and systematic human rights violations committed in Libya and the ability to address such an urgent situation must be an integral part of the UN Human Rights Council’s raison d’etre as evidenced by this special session. Denmark had submitted a draft resolution that called for the urgent dispatch of an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights in Libya. Denmark strongly supported the recommendations of the UN General Assembly to consider the suspension of the rights of Libya as a member of the Council in light of the gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by the Libyan authorities.
IBRAHIM KHRAISHI, (Palestine), extended Palestine’s condolences for the families of the victims and expressed its strong condemnation for all the acts of violence. A matter which led to casualties, destroyed infrastructure and loss of public and private property were matters that required an immediate halt in a manner that ensured the restoration of security. Palestine said that a composition of a fact finding mission should be established to hold those who perpetrated these acts as accountable. The delegation called for Libya to protect the safety of the Palestinian community in Libya and rejected the involvement of some Palestinians in the violence. They could accept the violations of human rights. The suspension of membership should also apply to other cases and Palestine hoped that calm and stability would be restored. They trusted in the ability to the Libyan people to restore their future and wished prosperity and the very best for the Libyan people.
NORBERT FRICK, (Liechtenstein), said the situation in Libya warranted an urgent response by the Human Rights Council and this would be a litmus test for the ability of the body to deal with situations of gross systematic violations of human rights. The Council should establish an independent and international investigation into alleged serious human rights violations in Libya, which would be a first necessary step towards full criminal accountability of persons responsible for such violations. Liechtenstein strongly supported and co-sponsored the resolution that had established a Commission of Inquiry and urged the Human Rights Council to stand by the victims who sought to exercise their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and opinion, which the government authorities responded to with brutal and totally unjustified violence.
AHARON LESHNO-YAAR, (Israel), said that the working group on the Universal Periodic Review convened to review the human rights situation on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and many delegations present today publicly praised Libya’s abhorrent human rights record, commending Libya, a Member State of the Human Rights Council for its efforts, endeavours and achievement in advancing human rights. Israel said that today the Human Rights Council can no longer turn a blind eye to the truth behind Libya’s long-standing tyrannical regime. Innocent Libyan children, women and men, already victims of a barbaric regime, were now being massacred in the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli and many other towns and cities in the country. Israel said that the victims in Libya and millions in the Middle East and around the world looked to this Council to protect their basic human rights. They asked if this august body was living up to its mission. Israel said that the fact that a murderous government sat there as a member and that, not long ago this same government was entrusted to head the United Nations effort in racism, discrimination and intolerance only underscored the urgent need for this Council to seriously reflect upon its own actions, upon its own record, upon its own credibility.
DELL HIGGIE, (New Zealand), condemned the gross and systematic use of deadly force, including aerial and rocket attacks against civilians, which may amount to crimes against humanity. The Libyan government had betrayed the trust given to it as a member of this Council. New Zealand called on the Libyan authorities to respect the will of its people, to work to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks on civilians and to ensure that humanitarian assistance would be available to those who needed it.
JONAS RUDALEVICIUS, (Lithuania), expressed grave concern regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Libya and called for the condemnation in the strongest terms of the attacks against the civilian population and the use of force including heavy weaponry against the demonstrators. Lithuania urged the Libyan government to immediately cease the use of force and to take steps to address the legitimate demands of the population through all layers of society and welcomed the Security Council and the Human Rights Council’s suggestion for a transparent, credible and independent investigation into events in Libya. The violation of human rights perpetrated by the Libyan authorities put it in a position whereby the possibility of suspending its rights as a member of the Council should be very seriously considered.
FEDERICO A. GONZALEZ, (Paraguay), said that the government expressed its deep concern at the very significant deterioration of the situation in Libya and the Special Session was an opportunity for the Council to analyze the situation and provide solutions. Paraguay said that they had a duty to make sure that hostilities came to an end in order to avoid the loss of more human lives and urged the Libyan authorities to take measures to guarantee peace of demonstration to its inhabitants. Freedom of demonstration must be respected and they said that it was not acceptable that violence was the response to the population. They demanded that hostilities end and urged the government to solve the conflict with dialogue and redouble its efforts to respect the human rights of its citizen.
NAJLA RIACHI ASSAKER, (Lebanon), said that Libya has been living through a tragic situation and that it condemned the unjustified persecution of innocent civilians and the violations of international law and humanitarian law. They called for the end of torture, the unlawful detention of innocent civilians and the lifting of restrictions on the media. The person behind these grave violations had also been sought by Lebanese courts for the disappearance of a Lebanese religious leader in 1978 on 31 August. Lebanon once again had asked for the release of all persons who had been illegally detained before and after these recent events.
VASILE RADU, (Romania), expressed concern about the events taking place in Libya in recent days and deplored the violence against innocent civilians that led to casualties. Romania expressed its deep regret for the loss of innocent lives and called upon the Libyan authorities to show restraint from the use of force against the protesters and prevent further violence against civilians.
MANUEL DENGO, (Costa Rica), said that Costa Rica firmly believed in the instruments of international law and that the Human Rights Council must be an effective and speedy body to act immediately to defend the victims of these human rights violations. Costa Rica firmly condemned the violations of human rights in Libya and stated that it was unacceptable that the forces meant to protect the citizens had been attacking them. The international community must find a peaceful solution and ensure that those who committed these violent acts were punished. Costa Rica supported and co-sponsored the resolution today and it called for an international and independent investigation into these acts of human rights violations.
ANGELICA NAVARRO, (Bolivia), expressed condolences for the families of the victims and called upon the government to put an end to the violence and to solve the crisis through peaceful means. Bolivia condemned the use of any violence, especially against the civilian population. Bolivia believed that external interference could worsen the situation and the Council should not use double standards for political reasons. Bolivia reaffirmed that all Member States of the Council had the duty to protect human rights and they supported the carrying out of an independent investigation on the serious events in Libya. They called upon the concerned country to start a national dialogue and called upon the international community to give its support in order to solve the conflict and to seek dialogue with the people of Libya.
FRANCISCO XAVIER ESTEVES, (Portugal), said Portugal strongly condemned the use of force against civilians as well as the brutal repression against peaceful demonstrators that had led to the death of hundreds of people. Portugal called on the Libyan authorities to immediately release all people arbitrarily detained and to ensure the safety of all civilians, including of third country nationals and to allow humanitarian assistance to those in need. Portugal called for an international investigation on the facts to be initiated as soon as possible and has also expressed its support for the Council’s recommendations to the General Assembly and the consideration of the measures foreseen in OP8 of resolution 60/251.
JANIS MAZEIKS, (Latvia), said that the recent peaceful demonstrations of the Libyan people had shown the wellness of the country and Latvia condemned the use of forces against people and deplored the brutal treatment by the Libyan authorities. They called on the Libyan authority to release detainees and respect the will of the people. Latvia said that the UN had an important role to play in Libya and they called on the Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation. The action of Libyan authorities warranted serious consideration and Latvia was glad that the Security Council could be convened at short notice. They supported the draft resolution on Libya and hoped that it would be adopted by consensus.
TOMAS HUSAK, (Czech Republic), said the Czech Republic deplored the violence and called upon the government of Libya to immediately stop attacks on civilians and that the latest threatening statements made by the Libyan leader would only escalate the violence. The Czech Republic had stated that each individual State must respect the human rights of its citizens and called for an investigation into the violence in Libya. The international community must ensure that those who were responsible for the gross violation of human rights in Libya would be held accountable.
ZALMAI AZIZ, (Afghanistan), conveyed to the people of Libya their condolences and sympathy and said that the dramatic popular uprisings in the Middle East underscored, evermore, the essential need for States to adhere to their commitment to democracy, social justice and fundamental human rights of the citizens, by addressing their demands peacefully and thought dialogues. Afghanistan said that the latest outburst of outrage and frustration, at the grassroots level, to which they had all born witness in the past few months, could only be seen as a natural reaction of the masses toward the failure of their governments to trail the rapid pace of progress of the epoch we live in, and responded positively to the legitimate demands for due reform aimed at increasing political, social and economic opportunities for their people.
HAMYA OMER HASSAN AHMED, (Sudan), said that Sudan had called upon the Libyan authorities to guarantee the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration of its citizens. As a neighbor, Sudan had encouraged the Libyan government to open up a dialogue with the opposition so as to avoid future bloodshed and to allow the Libyan people to build a peaceful society. The Libyan government should protect Sudanese citizens and facilitate safe passage for those Sudanese wishing to leave. The international community should support reforms toward freedom, development democratic change and social justice and it should provide humanitarian assistance. Sudan regretted the loss of life and injuries to the wounded.
ALICIA VICTORIA ARANGO OLMOS, (Colombia), welcomed the convening of the Special Session on the situation in Libya and, as they had already stated at the Security Council, they were extremely worried about the situation in Libya. Colombia said that the protection of the lives of the Libyan population was a responsibility of the Libyan authorities and they reiterated the need to immediately stop the violence and find a way to have a peaceful dialogue. They said that they would join the sponsors of the resolution that would be examined by the Human Rights council.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA, (South Africa), said South Africa had expressed profound concern pertaining to the grave and deplorable situation in Libya, particularly the indiscriminate and excessive use of force meted out to the peaceful demonstrators in violation of international human rights law. The South African delegation would look forward to the report of the African Union fact finding mission dispatched to Libya and had recommended that the council coordinate its mission to Libya with the African Union. The Human Rights Council should act to protect the Libyan people.
EVAN P. GARCIA, (Philippines), said that his country was closely monitoring the situation and they expressed condolences to the families of the victims. The Philippines urged peaceful means and dialogue and they were concerned for the lives of the foreign nationals in Libya and they called on Libya to ensure their protection and their relocation.
SAAD ALFARARGI, (League of Arab States), said the League of Arab States had watched with concern the grave events that had shaken Libya. On 22 February, the League convened an extraordinary meeting that condemned the violence against peaceful demonstrations and called for the immediate cessation of violence and the lifting of the media blackout so that humanitarian aid could reach civilians. The Council also called on Member States to provide humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people. The Libyan government was bound by legal obligations to its people and should respect these obligations. The League said the Council should act to put an end to the suffering of the Libyan people.
KHADIJA RACHIDA MASRI, (African Union), expressed condolences to the Libyan people and the families of the victims and condemned the excessive use of force and weapons against civilians and peaceful demonstrations in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. She said that the African Union Commission had decided to send a mission to assess the situation in the field and that they were in contact with the Libyan authorities and urged the Libyan authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to the wounded and to those who need assistance. The African Union called for the respect of the aspirations and demands Libya population
GERMAN MUNDARAIN HERNANDEZ, (Venezuela), expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and condemned the use of violence as a means to resolve the conflict. Venezuela said that Libya was living in difficult times and was worried about the situation in Libya. Venezuela said that they were concerned about the grave situation in an Arabic country, with significant energy resources and that has played an important role in OPEC, in the Non Aligned movement, the African Union and in the Arab League. Venezuela feared that this civil war would deepen and it would be exploited by the large oil corporations. Venezuela said that they could not support a resolution that established in a precipice way sanctions of expulsion against Members of the Council and that would establish a category of permanent members and others with membership with an unclear situation.
MOTHUSI BRUCE RABASHA PALAI, (Botswana), said the political situation in Libya was a grave situation. The collective duty of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council should live up to its obligations by calling on the Libyan authorities to respect the people’s right to political freedoms and human rights. The will of the people should be the basis of authority for all governments. The message must be strong and immediate steps should be taken to avoid further violence.
JAN KNUTSSON, (Sweden), said Sweden condemned, in the strongest terms, the events that had occurred in Libya, including the indiscriminate attacks on civilians exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and expression. Sweden had stated that the current leadership of Libya had no public support and therefore a process should be initiated for a national dialogue leading to a government which was chosen by the people of Libya in free and fair elections. Sweden condemned the extensive closure of fundamental means for communications such as the internet and strongly called on the regime in Libya to open channels for communication and to allow access and safe working conditions of journalists in the country. Sweden strongly supported the establishment of an independent and international commission of inquiry.
SEYED MOHAMMAD REZA SAJJADI, (Iran), said it was deeply concerned about the extensive use of force by the Libyan government and considered the uprising of the Libyan people as an Islamic awakening. The ongoing violence in Libya had been a humanitarian tragedy, which contradicted and violated Islamic principles and human dignity. The world rightfully should expect that the Human Rights Council would take immediate and effective action to put an end to such unprecedented carnage. Iran called upon the Libyan authorities to engage in a genuine and constructive dialogue and to immediately and peacefully address the demands of the people and urged the international community and Libya’s neighbors to provide aid and relief to the Libyan people.
JEAN FEYDER, (Luxemburg), condemned the events which took place in the country and they were concerned about the civil war that was occurring in Libya. Luxemburg called for the immediate cessation of these violations and said that the Libyan authorities should assume all responsibility and duties to protect the population. Luxemburg pointed out that those responsible for these violent acts should be held accountable and said that impunity was not an option. Luxemburg said that given the humanitarian drama created by the massive exodus of migrant workers, the international community must show solidarity and they would like the Human Rights Council to adopt with consensus the resolution that Luxemburg is cosponsoring.
DINESH BHATTARAI, (Nepal), said that violence must be avoided and called upon the Libyan authorities to use dialogue to resolve problems and to ensure the protection of those foreign individuals that would like to leave. Nepal welcomed the Libyan declaration that said it represented the people and not the regime.
VERONICA AGUILAR, (Ecuador), condemned the violence in Libya. The constitution included the respect of certain international principles such as the search for peaceful solutions for all and they would like to put forward the conviction that the Council should take a stand in n impartial way and there should not be different standards of treatment. Ecuador wondered why the same procedure was not applied to other countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and rejected any interference that would put at risk the integrity of any nation. Ecuador promoted an internal solution as occurred in Tunisia and Egypt and alerted the international community about the risk of making the protection of human rights political instrument, especially within in the UN. Lastly, they expressed their surprise at the behaviour of some countries that now have decided to criticize the Libyan regime after having sold to this country a large quantity of military equipment in these latest years.
CHEIKH AHMED OULD ZAHAF, (Mauritania), said it had published a declaration in condemnation of the violence and oppression against unarmed demonstrators given the serious nature of these events. It had ties of religion, fraternity and history with the Libyan people and Mauritania acknowledged the sacrifices made by the Libyan people to attain their rights. Mauritania insisted on an independent investigation of all the crimes that had been committed in this brotherly country.
Statements by Non-governmental Organisations
GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of the Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples (MRAP), said that the Human Rights Council was taking prompt action towards human rights violations and that it was important that in the future the same would happen and it that would no longer be possible to describe as collateral damage what in reality were war crimes. He said that the Libyan people were calling for radical reforms to be implemented as soon as possible to ensure that their aspirations became reality and the international community had to take all steps to ensure the rights to self-determination.
RENATA BLOEM, of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, in a joint statement with the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) said that they were outraged by the human rights violations committed in Libya and have been outraged by Col. Ghadafi’s most recent threats against peaceful demonstrators. The international community must now turn their expression of grave concern into action and the UN Member States must endorse their responsibility to protect the people of Libya without any further delay. The Alliance and Arab NGO Network called upon the United Nations General Assembly to suspend Libya’s Council membership and to dispatch an international mission of independent experts to collect facts and document violations of human rights law and crimes against humanity.
SLIMANE BOUCHUIGUIR, of International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), said the acts committed in Libya might be described as acts against humanity as said by the High Commissioner. New information concerning the killing of soldiers and of the wounded in the hospital continued to be spread. FIDH called upon members of the Council to adopt a resolution and set up an international commission of inquiry and suspend the Gaddafi regime from the Human Rights Council.
ALEX CONTE, of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), said it welcomed the draft resolution and urged the council to take urgent action to establish and dispatch an independent, impartial and credible United Nations-led international investigation into human rights violations in Libya. The ICJ urged the Council to take decisive action against the government of Libya by suspending its membership in the Council for there was clear evidence that, at the highest level, the government of Libya had repudiated its commitment to human rights.
HELENE SACKSTEIN, of Reporters Without Borders – International, said that as people took to the streets in Libya, pro-government forces were cracking down on the journalists who tried to bear witness and ensure some accountability. It was already very difficult for journalists to work in the country before the uprising and now it was virtually impossible. RSF said that many Egyptian journalists who managed to enter the country from Egypt and Tunisia as well as a few other foreign media people were now receiving threats from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Reporters Without Borders International said that the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al Jazeera, the 3 Lebanese TV stations National Broadcasting Network, Al- Jadeed and Al-Manar were being jammed by intelligence services and Al Jazeera’s website was inaccessible throughout the country.
JULIE DE RIVERO, of Human Rights Watch, said that it strongly supported the Council’s proposal to dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya. Human Rights Watch had received information from multiple sources that the violence was continuing with a government assault on the western town of Zawiyah, which had resulted in more deaths. The Council should follow the lead of the League of Arab States and recommend to the General Assembly the suspension Libya’s membership in the Council as urged by a cross regional group of 64 nongovernmental organizations.
LEON SALTIEL, of United Nations Watch, said innocent people in Libya were being slaughtered by their own government, under the orders of Muammar Qaddafi. United Nations Watch said that witnesses described horrifying scenes and that Libyan forces with mercenaries under their command were firing on peaceful protesters. Civilians were being attacked by warplanes and ambulances were being blocked. The death toll was estimated to range from 600 to 2,000. United Nations Watch said that the international community had a responsibility to protect the civilian population that was now under attack. They urged members States to take concrete, collective and decisive action to save those in danger.
CURTIS DOEBBLER, of North South XXI, said expressed their solidarity with the people of Libya because all people everywhere had the right to express their opinions freely without fear of reprisals. North South called on the Council to take effective action to redress the violations against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world where they had been perpetrated by powerful, wealthy individuals.
LAILA MATAR, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), said that the crimes against humanity currently carried out by the Libyan government against its own people were tragic and deeply shocking, but said also that perhaps the most tragic aspect of the brutality occurring in Libya was that these crimes were not unavoidable. Rather, CIHR said that they were the logical conclusion and penultimate expression of the way in which Arab governments and the international community had approached the wider regional phenomena of national popular protests that had been spontaneously occurring for the last 3 months.
ROY BROWN, of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), said that it was to prevent a repeat of such barbarous acts, which had outraged the conscience of mankind that the United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and yet now these acts had occurred again in Libya. In light of Libya’s flagrant violation of its citizen’s human rights, IHEU called upon the Council to suspend Libya from membership in the Council until such time as it has pledged itself to honor its obligations under international law.
PETER SPLINTER, of Amnesty International, said that by all indicators the government of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi continued to commit gross and systematic violations of human rights in its violent suppression of protests against it. Amnesty International welcomed the timely convening of this Special Session to address the human rights crisis in Libya. Amnesty International said that the Council must respond robustly to the situation in Libya, and today’s discussion suggested that it will. Yet, Amnesty International said that at the end of this session, much would remain to be done to address and remedy the current situation in Libya.
LOAI MOHAMMED DEEB, of the Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, said that grave violations of human rights had been carried out using heavy weaponry, air force and the land army although some generals had refused to bomb their own people and the government had used mercenaries to carry out these violations. There had been 1,000 deaths, 4,500 wounded and women had been raped. The Council should suspend Libya as a member and the Maarij Foundation called upon the Security Council to investigate the human rights violations as regards the Rome Statute.
Introduction of Resolution
ANDRAS DEKANY, (Hungary on behalf of the European Union), introduced the draft text and said the European Union tabled this draft resolution. The resolution expressed deep concern in its first operative paragraph and in operative paragraph 2 the resolution called for the Government of Libya to immediately stop any attacks against civilians. The resolution called for meaningful dialogue and for full cooperation with the United Nations Special Procedures and given the urgency of the situation Hungary called the Council to start an open and consultative process and they believed that this resolution should enjoy broad support and that it could be adopted without a vote.
Statements and General Comments before and after the Vote
MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO, (Brazil), speaking before the vote, said Brazil had supported the draft resolution under consideration because it addressed the two main issues of the problem: the attacks against unarmed civilians and the protection and reparation of foreign nationals. Brazil would like to reiterate its request to Libya to allow the evacuation of Brazilian citizens and would like to thank all the countries that had helped Brazil in these efforts, notably Malta and the United States.
OSITADINMA ANAEDU, (Nigeria, on behalf of the African Union), speaking after the vote, said that the African Union condemned the excessive use of force on civilian demonstrators and reiterated its call for an immediate end to the violence and it joined the consensus to adopt the resolution. However, the African Union wished to state that the adoption of this resolution should not become a precedent for future action of the work of the Council or in the United Nations.
For use of information media; not an official record