Libya denies human rights violations

LIBYA has denied violating human rights in the country, telling the UN Human Rights Council instead that it was rebels and NATO forces who were committing abuses.

Mustafa Shaban, Libya’s head of delegation, told the council today that demonstrations which began in February were “not peaceful protests but an unprecedented armed insurgency”.

“The protests only lasted for a few hours on February 15. This was dealt with by Libya without any human rights abuses,” he said during a hearing at the council on the situation in Libya.

“But this was used by criminal organisations and terrorist organisations, and turned into widespread and armed rebellion,” charged Shaban.

Libya also accused NATO forces of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“NATO is violating human rights in Libya tantamount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression,” said Shaban, calling for an inquiry by UN investigators.

“We request investigation into violations of human rights caused by NATO,” said Shaban.

Shaban addressed the council after UN investigators reporting back to the Human Rights Council said that Muammar Gaddafi’s regime had committed crimes against humanity in its systematic attacks on the population.

“There have been acts constituting murder, unlawful imprisonment and other forms of severe violations of fundamental rules of international law… that were committed by government forces and their supporters as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population,” said Cherif Bassiouni, who headed an inquiry panel commissioned by the Human Rights Council.

“Such acts fall within the meaning of ‘crimes against humanity’,” he added.

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