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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid