African governments must protect the people of Libya
CIVICUS (Press Release)— We, civil society organisations from all over Africa, urge our governments to protect the people of Libya against whom crimes against humanity are being committed by a vicious regime.
As news reports and testimonies of people caught up in the events in Libya indicate, the violent unprecedented brutal crackdown against protestors is continuing. Libya’s ‘supreme leader’ Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has urged his supporters to come out on the streets to attack the ‘rats’ and ‘cockroaches’ opposing his iron grip on power.
Indications from his public address of 22 February show that he is in no mood to relent to the legitimate demands of the pro-democracy protestors. Instead, he has threatened to purge opponents ‘house by house’ and ‘inch by inch’ and do whatever it takes to hold on to his iron grip on power. The situation in Libya is fast spiraling into an international and continent-wide crisis.
Article 3 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) lists the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as one of its key objectives. Despite this, the AU and African governments have been slow to react. Issuing statements urging the violence to stop will not deter the Libyan regime, which has practiced its brutal methods for over 40 years.
The UN Security Council has issued a unanimous statement condemning the violence but has failed to take any concrete action to restore peace and security to the people of Libya. The three African countries that sit on the UN Security Council – South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon – as representatives of the continent have a special responsibility to ensure that the people of Libya are protected from grave human rights violations constituting crimes against humanity.
It is vital that all African governments immediately recognise that this is an extraordinary situation which is fast becoming a threat to peace and security in Africa and internationally that must be recognised and acted upon resolutely by the UN andthe AU.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Africa Democracy Forum
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Media Monitoring Africa
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