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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora