News / Africa

Amnesty International Calls on Arab League States to Make Human Rights Priority at Sirte Summit


Joe DeCapua

The League of Arab States holds a summit Saturday in Sirte, Libya, and a human rights group is calling on members to make respect for human rights a top priority at the meeting.

Amnesty International says human rights and international humanitarian law should be a “cornerstone” of the summit deliberations – especially regarding regional conflicts in Sudan, Somalia and Yemen; and between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Rania Rajji, Amnesty’s researcher on Sudan, says, “Our concern is the continuing situation in Sudan in terms of the human rights violations that have been taking place over the last two years, really, which are more and more increasing at the hands of the national security.”

She says the coming elections could create a climate “that would only “enhance these human rights violations.”  

The alleged violations include mass unlawful detentions, with people being held incommunicado, and extra-judicial killings.

Arrest warrant

The League of Arab States has rejected the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).  The warrant accuses him of war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to the Darfur conflict in Western Sudan.

“We are asking the league to reverse its position and really we are asking for the member states to abide with their…obligations under international law.  The human rights violations that have been taking place in Sudan are contrary to Sudan’s human rights obligations, as well as other states,” she says.

Amnesty says human rights violators “should be brought to justice.”

“We are really encouraging justice mechanisms to be in place at all levels.  Of course the International Criminal court has [precedence] over crimes that have been committed in Darfur and over the arrest warrants that are carried out against President Bashir and three other people,” she says.

The accused should surrender, Rajji says, adding that they have the option under the Rome Statute to have their trials held in Sudan.  But she says impartial courts need to be in place and legislation passed to lift any immunity they may have against prosecution.  She says the legislation should also bar immunity for any security personnel accused of human rights violations.


On Somalia, Amnesty is calling on Arab League states to end all supplies of weapons, military equipment and related financial aid to the Transitional Federal Government until mechanisms are in put in place to ensure they are not used to commit human rights violations.  

Amnesty also says all parties in the Somali conflict accused of grave human rights abuses should be brought to justice.  It also wants member states to respect the UN arms embargo on Somalia.  

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs