News / Africa

US, Human Rights Groups Urge No Retribution in Libya

Rebel fighters gesture and flash the V-sign in the Gorgi district of Tripoli, Libya, August 23, 2011
Rebel fighters gesture and flash the V-sign in the Gorgi district of Tripoli, Libya, August 23, 2011

The United States on Monday joined major human rights groups in urging Libyan rebel forces to refrain from revenge attacks on Moammar Gadhafi's supporters. The issue was discussed in a just-completed mission to Benghazi by the State Department’s chief Middle East diplomat.  

Officials here are concerned that the jubilation in Tripoli might give way to revenge attacks on actual or perceived Gadhafi supporters, and they are urging the rebel movement to follow through on pledges to protect the rights of all those under their control.

Potential retribution was among the issues discussed by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on a visit to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi that ended on Sunday. Feltman said the “first step” in any post-Gadhafi era in Libya is to prevent a cycle of retribution.

State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said U.S. officials are encouraged by new assurances on the subject from Transitional National Council, or TNC, chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

“He called for reconciliation. He called for a unitary Libya. So these are issues that the TNC has been very focused on," said Nuland. "We’ve also been cautiously optimistic over the situation that we’ve seen in the liberated parts of Tripoli so far. But this is certainly something that we are watching, that the TNC is working hard on because we do not want to see any more civilian life lost in Libya.”

Nuland said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his sons and other members of the regime with “blood on their hands” must face justice, and that the process of seeking accountability for crimes they might have committed needs to be “Libyan-led.”

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued public appeals on Monday to the rebels and Gadhafi’s dwindling cadre of supporters to protect the rights of civilians as the conflict nears an end.

Amnesty International said these are “momentous, but extremely dangerous” days for the people of Libya, and that all forces must respect the right of civilians and ensure that the Tripoli fighting does not result in reprisals.

Omar al-Issawi, Middle East and North Africa Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, said it is a time for “cool heads, calm and respect for international human rights standards” in Libya. He said that among the many internally-displaced persons in Libya, those with dark complexions are at particular risk amid charges that the Gadhafi government used sub-Saharan Africans as mercenaries.

“Since the beginning of the conflict, there were accusations that Colonel Gadhafi was using African mercenaries to fight some of his battles for him. Therefore, we are concerned that there will be retribution or revenge meted out to people of dark skin on the simple suspicion that they are African mercenaries," said al-Issawi. "Now, whether they are dark-skinned Libyans or Africans living and working in Libya, we expect them to be afforded the full protection of Libyan law.”

Human Rights Watch said captured Libyan government figures should be treated humanely and that those facing charges from the International Criminal Court should be handed over for trial.

In late June, the ICC issued warrants for Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi on charges of crimes against humanity for their roles in attacks on demonstrators in several Libyan cities since February.

Nuland said the United States is not aware of Gadhafi’s whereabouts. But she said that if he is alive, the best thing he can do for Libya is to, in her words, “step down and end this.”

When asked whether the Libyan leader has been reaching out for some kind of deal, Nuland said the United States has not heard from him directly, but that it has received many feelers from people claiming to represent Gadhafi, including “more-desperate” inquiries in the last two days.

She said none of them were considered serious because none met the basic standard of the international community, which starts with Gadhafi’s willingness to yield power.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs