News / Africa

AU Joins in Condemning Use of Force in Libya

Libyan residents gather near the courthouse in Benghazi, Libya, February 23, 2011
Libyan residents gather near the courthouse in Benghazi, Libya, February 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Africa's highest security body has added its voice to the international chorus condemning the use of lethal force against demonstrators in Libya.  The African Union Peace and Security Council chose its words carefully in dealing with an insurrection against one of the AU's most influential leaders.

"It was awful."  That was how one African diplomat described Wednesday's closed-door Peace and Security Council debate on Libya. The diplomat, who asked not to be identified, spoke of heated exchanges as Libya's ambassador defended his government's use of deadly force against demonstrators demanding an end to Moammar Gadhafi's 41-year rule.

The Libyan representative left without speaking to reporters. The 15-member council then debated three hours before releasing a brief communiqué.

A day earlier, a U.N. Security Council statement condemned Libyan authorities for using deadly force. It said those responsible should to be held to account.

The Arab League suspended Libya's membership. The organization's Secretary-General Amr Moussa was quoted as speaking of Arab anger about the use of mercenaries, live ammunition and heavy weapons against civilians in Libya.

The AU Council was more careful in affixing blame for the violence shown on television screens around the world. The Council chairman for February, Namibia's AU Ambassador Kakena Nangula, described the statement to reporters.

"[The] council strongly deplored the unfortunate tragic loss of life of the people of Libya, and urged all people, all those concerned to exercise restraint in order to avoid any further loss of life and or destruction of property," said Nangula.

The final version of the Council communiqué sent to VOA used a slightly stronger formulation, "strongly condemn[ing] the indiscriminate use of force."

Ambassador Nangula expressed concern that much of the news about the public uprising in Libya is coming from media reports. She said the Council would dispatch a fact-finding team to Libya, partly to look into discrepancies between official death tolls and estimates reported by news agencies.

"His excellency ambassador of Libya informed council of 270 deaths," added Nangula.  "That includes civilians, military and everybody else, and that is part of the reason why the information we are getting is not quite sufficient.  We are not quite satisfied.  We want to go there for and find out the information on the ground itself."

Several AU diplomats are urging strong action against the Libyan government's action. Zachary Muburi-Muita, head of the United Nations mission to the African Union, says 21st century African leaders must know they can no longer crush dissent with impunity.

"In decades past, I'm talking about impunity here, you could get away with whatever because you are minister, you are a general, you are the president of your country," noted Muburi-Muita.  "[In] the 21st century [it] is no longer permissible, acceptable, that you can do anything to your population just because you are at the leadership position."

AU diplomats and bureaucrats say the cautious Peace and Security Council statement reflects the African Union's discomfort at criticizing one of its wealthiest and most outspoken leaders. Moammar Gadhafi served as AU chairman in 2009, and was a forceful advocate of creating a United States of Africa, patterned after the European Union.  Despite Mr. Gadhafi's urging, the plan remains in limbo.

Libya is among five nations that contribute nearly two-thirds of the membership dues in the 53-state organization. He is also said to provide financial aid to poorer African countries in return for their support in AU affairs.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs