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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid