UN Human Rights Council: Special Session on Libya, Geneva, 25 February 2011, Address by the Permanent Representative of Ireland, Mr. Gerard Corr
UN Human Rights Council: Special Session on Libya
Geneva, 25 February 2011
Address by the Permanent Representative of Ireland, Mr. Gerard Corr
Ireland strongly welcomes the holding of this Special Session on Libya and hopes to see a clear and unequivocal resolution as its outcome. This Council has been very active in condemning other uses of excessive force against civilians and there is a clear need for it to do so today in the case of Libya.
The people of Ireland support the people in Libya at this difficult juncture in their history and condemn unreservedly the use of violence against innocent civilians. Like other speakers, we have been horrified by widespread and persistent reports that live ammunition, snipers and heavy weaponry including fighter jets are being used on the order of Libya’s leaders against their own people. There are also credible reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture of peaceful demonstrators. This appalling brutality is completely unacceptable and amounts to a clear violation of the Government of Libya’s responsibility to protect its population.
My Government, along with EU partners, fully supports Tuesday’s UN Security Council statement which calls upon the Libyan authorities to immediately stop this bloody repression, to honour its responsibility to protect the civilian population, and to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. We also endorse the clear statement issued on 23 February by High Representative Ashton on behalf of the EU.
Ireland also fully endorses the call for an independent international investigation into the human rights violations in Libya. Those ordering these attacks, and those carrying them out, should be aware that they will be held to account. The refusal of many Libyan security forces personnel to carry out attacks against civilians is commendable. We welcome the African Union statement on Libya and urge any countries whose nationals may be participating in operations against Libyan civilians to take measures to prevent this.
The popular dissent in Libya can only be met with inclusive and meaningful national dialogue aimed at meeting the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people. In neighbouring Egypt national dialogue has now commenced, and an irreversible transition to democracy has begun. Libya’s leaders have so far chosen a different path, but it is clearly evident that violence simply brings further violence. The repressive approach of the Libyan authorities has enraged the Libyan people. Their grievances and legitimate wish to have a greater say in their destiny will not go away. We applaud the courage of the Libyan people and offer the sympathies of the Irish people to the bereaved and the injured.
The Libyan government has an obligation to protect not only their own citizens but those of other nationalities. Libya must allow international human rights monitors and humanitarian aid agencies into the country so that the wounded and those fleeing violence can be helped. Foreign nationals wishing to leave Libya must be assisted. I further call upon Libya, as the Security Council has demanded, to immediately stop blocking the internet and mobile phone networks, and to lift all restrictions on the media. Such efforts will not stop the international community finding out about what is happening in Libya, and are hampering citizens in Libya who are trying to contact their families and flee from this violence.
Ireland is currently considering with its EU partners what effective and urgent measures can be taken in relation to Libya. This Special Session is one of many signals that the international community is united, fully engaged and ready to take appropriate action. The Libyan people do not stand alone.
Note to the Editor:
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held a Special Session today at the request of the EU and others (including Ireland) to discuss the critical human rights situation in Libya. Ireland, although not a current member of the HRC, addressed the meeting to express the Government's grave concerns on this issue.
The HRC this evening adopted a Resolution which, inter alia, condemned the attacks on civilians in Libya, urged the Libyan authorities to respect the will of the people, allow the passage of humanitarian aid and the exit of foreign citizens, and recommended that the UN General Assembly consider suspending Libya from the HRC.
25 February 2011