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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid