News / Africa

Former UN Official Alarmed Over Africa’s Silence on Libya

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi talks during the first session of the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli, Libya, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. 80 African and European Heads of State and Government and some 50 observers from third countries met in Tripoli to discuss c
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi talks during the first session of the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli, Libya, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. 80 African and European Heads of State and Government and some 50 observers from third countries met in Tripoli to discuss c

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Professor Okey Onyejekwe, former director of governance at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Peter Clottey

The former director of governance at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa questions why African leaders and the African Union have been “alarmingly silent” about the crisis in Libya following what he describes as the grave human rights abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.

Okey Onyejekwe says a number of people across Africa are surprised and embarrassed that the continental body has failed to back Libya’s anti-government protesters who want democracy in their country.

“A number of people are quite surprised that the African Union and African states have been rather quiet on the goings on in North Africa and particularly recently in Libya. The issue here for me is that we in the continent should indentify with what is going on because we started the path of democratization on the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which African masses were beginning to demand the say-so in their affairs of the state and how they were governed.”

Officials of the African Union have yet to comment officially on the crisis in Libya, as anti-government protesters demand reforms and Gadhafi’s ouster after 42 years of rule.

“One of the challenges which African states have to address in this decade is the issue of becoming relevant players in global politics and on the reaction to what is going on in Libya, particularly the fact that unarmed civilians, who were simply asking for their basic rights, were being gunned down,” said Onyejekwe.

“Something which we in the African Union should join the rest of the world because across Asia, across Europe, there is total condemnation. And then, if we must become active players and be taken seriously in global politics, we need to have our voices heard on issues like this.”

Onyejekwe says it is unfortunate Africa’s leaders remain silent in the face of the ongoing crisis in Libya.

“There are quite a number of views on what some people have called alarming, deafening silence on taking a position, at the very least, on condemnation of the reaction of the Libyan government to the peaceful demonstrators. A number of people have speculated that some African states have identified with Gadhafi and are quite reluctant to be critical,” said Onyejekwe.

“Others have said that he [Gadhafi] has deep pockets [and he] has a lot of investments in several African countries, and they are quite also reticent based on this factor. But, it is misplaced given the fact that these are human rights issues, basic issues of decency, especially in the sense that African states themselves…have affirmed commitment to good governance and democratization.”

Recently, Jean Ping the African Union Commission chief condemned what he described as the “disproportionate use of force” against Libyan anti-government protesters. But, critics say the continental body has been ineffective in handling the crisis in Libya.

Meanwhile, in a Monday interview with several Western news organizations, Gadhafi said he cannot step down because he holds no official government position.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid