Libya: Amnesty International Calls on U.N. Security Council and Arab League To Act Decisively on Libyan Crimes

Press Release
February 22, 2011

Libya: Amnesty International Calls on U.N. Security Council and Arab League To Act Decisively on Libyan Crimes

Amnesty International Press Release
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Amnesty International Calls on U.N. Security Council and Arab League To Act Decisively on Libyan Crimes

Organizations Calls for Total Arms Embargo on Libya

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(London) -- Amnesty International today called on the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League to urgently send a team to Libya to investigate the crisis that has left hundreds of protesters dead.

The organization also called on the Security Council to impose a total arms embargo on Libya, amid reports that lethal force against protesters includes a range of weapons, munitions and related equipment.

“Colonel al-Gaddafi and his government appear to be prepared to kill as many people as it takes to stay in power. The international community needs to act now to put a stop to this,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General.

“The Security Council must also put an immediate end to the export or transfer of all arms and military equipment to Libya,” said Shetty. "Other states must not be complicit in further killing. All military and police supplies and cooperation with Libya must stop now until the risk of such serious human rights violations is ended.”

The Security Council and the Arab League are meeting today in special sessions to discuss the spiralling violence in Libya.

Amnesty International said an investigation by the United Nations and the Arab League should include a judgment as to whether the scale of the crimes being committed in Libya warrants a Security Council referral to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Monday that the Libyan authorities’ actions against protesters may amount to crimes against humanity.

Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, Colonel al-Gaddafi’s son, said in a televised speech on Sunday that the army would “play a big part whatever the cost” to end anti-government protests and that the Libyan authorities will “fight to the last man and woman and bullet.”.

Shetty said: “It is an outrage that al-Gaddafi’s son feels able publicly to announce the readiness to massacre Libyans in order to maintain his father’s hold on power.

“The international community must immediately make it clear to all those in the Libyan government, military and security apparatus that they and those carrying out their orders will be held to account for crimes under international law, such as those now being reported,” said Shetty.

Amnesty International warned that reports it had received from hospitals in eastern Libya indicated that some 200 people had been killed by security forces as of Sunday. . Hospital staff told Amnesty International that they were struggling to cope with the number of casualties.

The true number of deaths could be much higher as this sample represented only the major hospitals. Some families are also likely to have buried their dead without taking the bodies to hospitals.

In addition to the United Nations and Arab League, Amnesty International also called on the African Union to take action.

“All international bodies that Libya holds membership of need to recognise the gravity of this crisis. The African Union must urgently address the gross human rights abuses being committed in Libya in a special session of its Peace and Security Council,” said Shetty.