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UK debates findings of report into Human rights situation in Libya

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today debated the findings of the Commission of Inquiry report into the human rights situation in Libya.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK played an essential part in securing the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Libya which convened on 25 February, and in negotiating the resulting resolution which set up the independent commission of inquiry to establish the facts about violations of human rights and to make recommendations, including on holding those responsible to account.

Jordan delivered a statement on behalf of the Libyan National Transitional Council. Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN in Geneva, Peter Gooderham delivered the following statement:

“Mr President

The United Kingdom strongly supports the Commission of Inquiry mandated by Human Rights Council Resolution S-15/1 and would like to thank the Commission for their report. We would like to align ourselves with the EU statement. And we also welcome the statement made by the National Transitional Council and in particular, their determination to fully and transparently cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry, and to implement in full those conclusions of the report addressed to the NTC. We would also like to make some remarks in our national capacity.

We would like to commend the Commission for their investigation into what is clearly a very dire human rights situation in Libya. We firmly believe that the findings in their report reinforce the decision of the UN Security Council in February, in response to the actions by Libyan government against their own people, to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court. And similarly, the decision of the UN General Assembly in March to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council.

The situation in government-controlled areas of Libya continues to deteriorate. There are continuing reports of abhorrent human rights violations, such as excessive use of force, including indiscriminate attacks against unarmed civilians, blocked access to humanitarian aid, and intimidation through sexual violence and enforced disappearances. The Commission’s findings on the misuse of the Red Crescent emblem, including targeted attacks on medical transports and facilities are further demonstrations of the Libyan government’s disregard of international law and must be unequivocally condemned.

The United Kingdom supports the recommendations made by the Commission with regard to the government in Libya and calls on them to heed and act immediately on all of these recommendations.

As made clear by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, it is the British Government’s assessment that the National Transitional Council is the legitimate interlocutor in Libya, representing the aspirations of the Libyan people. We welcome their invaluable cooperation with the Commission, and strongly encourage this to continue. We strongly welcome their stated commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The UK notes the allegations made by some previous speakers concerning NATO. We strongly refute such allegations and refer these speakers to paragraph 235 of the Commission of Inquiry Report.

We would like to ask the Commission for their views on how members of the Council might assist the people of Libya in the longer term.

Mr President,

The United Kingdom continues to support the Commission of Inquiry and encourages all Council Members to support the draft resolution under discussion. It is evident from the report that the Commission that there is a compelling case for the Commission to continue its investigations to ensure that impunity is tackled and those deemed responsible are held to account.

Thank you Mr President”

Published 9 June 2011