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CIHRS Calls on the Security Council to Impose a No-Fly Zone on Libya

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United Nations Human Rights Council: 16th Session
Item 4: General Debate- Follow up on Special Session of Libya
Oral Intervention
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
14 March, 2011

Delivered by:  Mr. Ziad Abdel Tawab

Thank you Mr. President

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) is encouraged by the prompt response of the Human Rights Council to address the dire and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Libya. CIHRS hails the  unprecedented decision of the ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States to cooperate and communicate with the Transitional Libyan Council and to take the  necessary steps to provide safety for Libyan nationals with regards to the crimes against humanity  that have been carried out by government authorities.

CIHRS reiterates its call to the international community, including governments and NGOs present today, to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people and to the hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who are still trapped in Libyan towns or are seeking refuge on the borders with Egypt and Tunisia.

The request by the League of Arab States for the Security Council to carry out its primary responsibility for enforcing peace and security by imposing a no-fly zone on the movement of the Libyan air force should not be ignored. The HRC should recommend that the Security Council carry out this request in order to help protect Libyan civilians from ongoing gross and systematic human rights violations.   CIHRS calls on the member states of the United Nations, and to regional and cross regional organizations, to fulfill their humanitarian obligations in strict accordance with  international law and refrain from taking actions that are not clearly mandated by a Chapter VII Security Council resolution. Human rights law and international humanitarian law can only be effectively enforced through multilateral action that is legally sanctioned.

Finally, CIHRS calls upon the Council to immediately dispatch the assigned Commission of Inquiry to the Eastern and Western parts of Libya given the recent escalation of violence by Ghadafi’s armed forces. All necessary funds should be made available to further this end. The events unraveling in Libya and the wider region should be a strong lesson to this Council, and all UN member states, that human rights and international stability are intimately and inseparably linked.  It is time for the UN and its member states to recognize that long-term international security can only be ensured if human rights are placed at the very centre and forefront of multilateral and bilateral diplomacy and to use all tools available to prevent further war crimes from occurring in Libya.

Thank you Mr. President

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