Libya Remains on UN Human Rights Panel as It Bombs Civilians
Libya remains on the United Nations Human Rights Council as it continues to pay mercenaries and use tanks, planes and helicopters to massacre hundreds of protesters.
The American Jewish Committee has called on the United Nations to suspend Libya from the rights panel, which has targeted Israel in virtually all of its resolutions condemning abuses of civil rights.
“The Gaddafi regime’s widespread use of brutal force against protesters makes a mockery of the UN Human Rights Council,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. Libya was elected for a three-year term on the Rights Council less than a year ago.
As opponents to the regime of Muammar Gaddafi wrest control from his regime in most of the country outside Tripoli, the eccentric ruler continues to pay mercenaries thousands of dollars, depending on how many civilians they can kill. Several mercenaries, many of them from Chad, have been captured and beaten to death by rebels.
The armed forces are using tanks, planes and helicopters to strafe civilians as tens of thousands of foreigners to try to leave the oil-rich but poverty stricken country.
Dozens of diplomats and soldiers, including officers, have turned against Gaddafi, some of them seeking asylum elsewhere and others joining the opposition forces.
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet in closed session. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded an end to the massacre, telling Gaddafi by telephone to “stop violence against demonstrators." Speaking with reporters, the U.N. Secretary General added, “This is unacceptable. This must stop immediately. This is a serious violation of international humanitarian law."
Gaddafi stubbornly has held on to power, claiming that reports of deaths and violence are grossly exaggerated. “Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs," he said on national television.
Libya's ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, called for Gaddafi to resign and said that he cannot “support the government killing our people…”
However, U.S. President Barack Obama, who waffled on the uprising in Egypt until taking a stand against deposed president Hosni Mubarak, he has said little about the rebellion in Libya. A White House statement three days ago said it is “analyzing” reforms that Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam said he would institute.
Two leading Republic senators called on the president to speak out against Libya, and he might take a more public stand Tuesday, following the weekend and the Presidents’ Day holiday Monday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, "Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed. We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government."
The American government has ordered all non-emergency personnel to leave Libya.
The United States and many other countries have vested interests in Libya, whose oil reserves play a significant factor on world markers. The price of oil on world markets has soared more than 10 percent the past three days, sparking concerns of a new round of inflation and that could destroy the worldwide economic recovery.
The presence of thousands of foreign workers in the country has prompted efforts from various countries to protect their citizens. One unconfirmed report said that approximately 300 foreign construction workers, including 100 from Bangladesh, are being held hostage. It was not clear if their captors were government or opposition forces.
Hundreds of Chinese workers fled an armed attack, Turkey is sending three ships to evacuate 3,000 of its citizens, and Egypt said thousands of its nationals are trying to leave the country. More than 1.5 million Egyptians are estimated to be in Libya, and the Egyptian army is patrolling the Libyan border, which has been abandoned by Libyan forces.