Mideast news brief: UN team to probe human rights abuses in Libya
UN team to probe human rights abuses in Libya A UN team appointed by the UN Human Rights Council has arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli to investigate accusations of human rights violations since the start the country’s crisis in February. The team, comprised of three investigators, was initially appointed after Libyan leader Muammar ...
UN team to probe human rights abuses in Libya
UN team to probe human rights abuses in Libya
A UN team appointed by the UN Human Rights Council has arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli to investigate accusations of human rights violations since the start the country’s crisis in February. The team, comprised of three investigators, was initially appointed after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s crackdown on protests began. They will be investigating allegations of abuse, and the government has said it will cooperate with the team, who will look at both alleged abuses both on the part of the government and rebel or NATO forces. Navi Pillay, the UN human rights commissioner, had said in late February that events in Libya “may amount to crimes against humanity.” And while the team will investigate all abuse allegations, human rights violations committed by Qaddafi’s forces will remain the priority, according to BBC‘s correspondent in Geneva, Imogen Foulkes. Among other things, the team will investigate reports of disappearances, torture and killing of protesters.
- Syrian opposition vows to “break the regime” unless President Bashar al-Assad leads a transition to democracy, while Syrian chaos sends shivers in the region.
- European nations summon Syrian ambassadors to demand the country respect human rights.
- An explosion in Egypt’s North Sinai forces its export pipeline to shut down.
- Bahraini activists say security forces raided medical centers and schools in retribution for treating injured protesters.
The general director for cinema and theatre in the Iraqi Culture Ministry Shafiq al-Mehdi stands in front of his destroyed vehicle after narrowly escaping assassination on April 27, 2011, when a magnetic ‘sticky bomb’ was affixed to his car detonated shortly after he parked it outside the national theater in Baghdad. His two bodyguards were wounded as a result of the blast (SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images).
Arguments & Analysis
‘Demystifying the Arab Spring’ (Lisa Anderson, Foreign Affairs)
“The important story about the 2011 Arab revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya is not how the globalization of the norms of civic engagement shaped the protesters’ aspirations. Nor is it about how activists used technology to share ideas and tactics. Instead, the critical issue is how and why these ambitions and techniques resonated in their various local contexts. The patterns and demographics of the protests varied widely. The demonstrations in Tunisia spiraled toward the capital from the neglected rural areas, finding common cause with a once powerful but much repressed labor movement. In Egypt, by contrast, urbane and cosmopolitan young people in the major cities organized the uprisings. Meanwhile, in Libya, ragtag bands of armed rebels in the eastern provinces ignited the protests, revealing the tribal and regional cleavages that have beset the country for decades. Although they shared a common call for personal dignity and responsive government, the revolutions across these three countries re?ected divergent economic grievances and social dynamics — legacies of their diverse encounters with modern Europe and decades under unique regimes.”
‘The wrath of Abbas’ (Dan Ephron, Newsweek)
“The strategy for September marks a gamble for Abbas. At least one of his aides worries it will generate the kind of expectation that the Palestinian leader couldn’t then meet. U.N. votes don’t make 500,000 Jewish settlers suddenly disappear from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And Netanyahu is unlikely to just hand over the keys. (His spokesman, Mark Regev, said about the U.N. initiative: “The Palestinians can go for more empty rhetoric or choose a path of real change. The only way to peace and Palestinian statehood is through negotiations with Israel.”) For the statehood resolution to have more than just symbolic impact, Abbas would have to come back from New York and assert sovereignty over the territory the U.N. just handed him. But that would entail confrontational measures-for instance, ending the security cooperation with Israel. Abbas told me that’s a path he will not take.”
‘North Africa’s epochal year of freedom’ (Augustus Richard Norton & Ashraf El-Sherif, Current History)
“Massive bureaucracies are by no means unmitigated virtues; nonetheless, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco enjoy the advantage of established agencies that can provide services and respond to public needs. Where public administration and service delivery are not well institutionalized, government has to be created from scratch. This is the case in Libya, where Qaddafi’s peculiar political formula promoted the decentralization and fragmentation of government institutions to the point that they became ineffectual. As the groundswell of opposition to his rule expanded in February and March, one could observe an inchoate civil society in formation, but Libya lacks both an established political opposition and respected legal institutions other than tribe-based traditions of customary law.”
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