News / Africa

UN Investigating Allegations of Torture in Libya

UN Special Investigator on Torture Juan Mendez (file photo)
UN Special Investigator on Torture Juan Mendez (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The new United Nations special investigator on torture says he has received allegations of torture in Libya, which have come to light since fighting erupted last month.  He says he will be looking at these cases.

Juan Mendez says he and other human rights experts have received allegations of abuse, including torture, arbitrary detentions and extra-judicial killings, in Libya.  

But under the rules of his mandate, he says he cannot disclose the content of these communications until the final results of the investigations are in.  And that, he adds, might take some time as these events are fairly recent.

“But I can confirm that we are working on some complaints about mistreatment," said Mendez. "The same complaints obviously talk about violations that are much more visible on television and on the news like…attacks on peaceful demonstrations and extra-judicial executions.…And, yes, I am working on allegations that we have received since the disturbances began in Libya.”  

Mendez says, so far, he has received only allegations of torture perpetrated by the Gadhafi government.  He says he has not received any allegations of wrongdoing, including torture, on the part of the rebels.

Turning to Tunisia and Egypt, the U.N. human rights expert says many factors were involved in the revolutions that erupted in those countries.  But he says since everyone knows a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance who was tortured, it is quite likely this, too, played a role in the recent uprisings.

“I think that the new regimes that will come out of these upheavals will very probably try to do everything different," he said. "And one of the things they have to do different is the use of torture, especially as both Tunisia and Egypt were notable for their extensive use of cruel practices of interrogation.”  

Mendez says he is ready to assist the new Tunisian and Egyptian governments to draft laws that will protect their citizens against torture and against cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment.  He says there are signs that requests for assistance are being made.  

“I have not had any direct requests, but I have heard via NGOs [non-governmental organizations] that have networks in those countries that those requests, at least in regards to Tunisia, will be forthcoming," said Mendez.

Mendez says he has received an official invitation to conduct a fact-finding mission in Ivory Coast from the government of Allasane Ouattara.  He says the dates for the visit are uncertain but that political developments on the ground will have to be stabilized before he can act on the invitation.

The U.N. official says he has received allegations of torture from Ouattara’s people.  He adds he also has received allegations from civil society organizations.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid