UN to Praise Qaddafi’s ‘Human Rights’ Record, NGO Outraged

February 27, 2012  

The UN Watch organization on Monday called on the U.S., the EU and UN rights chief Navi Pillay to urge the UN’s Human Rights Council president, Laura Dupuy Lasserre, to cancel a planned resolution praising the human rights record of former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.

The resolution is slated for adoption in the council’s next session in Geneva, which will be attended by foreign ministers from around the globe, the NGO said in a statement posted on its website.

The organization reported that the UN Human Rights Council is planning to “consider and adopt the final outcome of the review of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” which lavishes praise on the disgraced regime. The review will be adopted despite the council’s own inquiry this year, which found evidence of war crimes by the Qaddafi regime.

The report is the outcome of a 2010 session that was meant to review Libya’s human rights record and had been postponed repeatedly since originally scheduled for adoption last year, UN Watch noted.

The lengthy report hailing Qaddafi’s human rights record will be presented on March 16 and then adopted by the council toward the end of the month.

According to UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, apart from the small minority of genuine criticisms contained in it, the report’s main effect “was to falsely praise Qaddafi’s oppressive regime, insult his victims, and harm the reputation of the UN.”

Neuer added, “The report completely contradicts the council’s own commission of inquiry, which found evidence of Qaddafi war crimes. The review should be entirely redone, and the council should set an example of accountability by acknowledging that its original review was deeply flawed.”

“Although the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism is often described as the council’s saving grace, the vast majority of council members used it to falsely praise the Qaddafi regime for its alleged promotion of human rights,” said Neuer.

UN Watch added that the report also includes praise of the old regime’s record by Qaddafi-era diplomats who changed sides and now represent the new government.

“With Libya’s own UN diplomats admitting that the Gaddafi regime was a gross violator of human rights, it would be nonsensical for the UN to adopt this false report,” Neuer pointed out.

“We call on the council president to acknowledge that the council’s review of the Qaddafi regime’s record was a fraud, withdraw the report, and schedule a new session in which council members would tell the truth about the Qaddafi regime’s heinous crimes, which were committed over four decades yet ignored by the UN,” said Neuer. “Libya’s long-suffering victims deserve no less.”

The UN report’s summary notes that delegations “commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” and that they “noted with appreciation the country’s commitment to upholding human rights on the ground,” noted UN Watch.

At least one report by Amnesty International found that forces loyal to Qaddafi abused Libyan citizens during last year’s civil war in the country.

Amnesty said it gathered testimony from prisoners and survivors of the conflict in the capital Tripoli, adding its delegation uncovered evidence of rape being committed against inmates of Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim Prison while it was under the control of Qaddafi’s forces.

Some detainees said they were beaten in pro-Qaddafi prisons with metal wires, sticks and batons, and were given electric shocks.

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