A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Mon 19 December 2011
Government “urges” investigation into NTC abuse of Africans
Minister reveals UN inquiry may investigate numerous abuse and unlawful killings of innocent Africans during Libyan conflict.
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has responded to Pan African concerns about the gross maltreatment of Africans in the UK/US facilitated civil war in Libya.
In September 2011, Ligali was one of several groups that supported a campaign led by the community organisation, BTWSC. In recognising the lack of political action over the horrendous human right abuse of Libyan based Africans, the campaign called for accurate media reporting and a full investigation into the ‘ethnic cleansing of Africans by rebels in Libya’.
Complaints about the chilling effect of the media whitewash were made by Ligali amongst others to various media institutions including the BBC Newsnight team regarding its failure to highlight the abuse and extra-judicial killings.
Ligali’s letter read;
“Dear Newsnight Editorial Team,
I am writing to you with a matter that is of great concern to myself and many other African people. As you are aware the current conflict in Libya has attracted masses of media coverage focusing on the cause of the ‘rebels’ leading an assault on what has been labelled ‘pro-Gadaffi’ forces.
Our concern is that there have been several reports of innocent African people who were resident in Libya prior to the UN backed conflict who are being detained at gunpoint and killed in [extra]judicial executions after being labelled ‘mercenaries’.
Due to the fact that [Britain’s] Parliament is collectively both politically and militarily backing the MTC ‘rebels’ in their civil war, we write to you asking for help in raising awareness of this matter through the commissioning of a program with the remit to investigate these gross violations of human rights and help bring them to a halt.
It is our belief that your voice may add weight to a growing moral call for action that could prevent a targeted genocide taking place in Libya fueled by ethnic prejudices.”
Accountability and human rights
Several months later and only a few responses have been received by BTWSC. Fortunately independednt meida organisations like Afrikan Quests’s Nubiart has helped highlight the issue.
The BBC failed to respond to all of Ligali’s requests however Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch was far more proactive and sent a letter to the Secretary of state for Defence.
Alistair Burt who responded on their behalf has recently returned from a visit to Libya. Yet despite making press statements on the UK’s stated intention to work for a Libya based on “transparency, accountability and human rights”, he was ominously silent on the matter of the inhumane treatment meted out to African people by the new Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) regime.
Indeed, in October 2011 Theresa May, the UK’s home secretary vociferously called for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped whilst Prime Minister David Cameron said he agreed with May and advocates them being replaced with a ‘bill of rights’ reserved only for the British. These political actions contradict the credibility of claims by Burt when making statements on behalf of the British government expressing concern about “the abuses of human rights under the Qadhafi regime”.
It also casts doubt on the integrity of Burt’s response to Ligali’s query when he stated;
“We are especially concerned by reports that sub-Saharan Africans and Black Libyans have been targeted by anti-Qadhafi forces, and credible reports that they have been subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, and mistreatment. This issue has received significant attention from the international community, including through UN Security Council resolution 2009 … [and] The independent Commission of Inquiry on Libya, set up after a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, continues to investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuses.”
Col. Muammar Gaddafi, 69 was tortured and executed on 20 October 2011 following a nine month US-NATO war in Libya which supported and has now installed the NTC rebel group as the governing regime. The British, French and American backed war which was opposed by the African Union came to a close after Gaddafi who was the controversial Libyan leader for 42 years, was ruthlessly murdered in the custody of NATO backed rebels in the coastal city of Sirte.
With the British Prime Minister in support of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, does Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt’s claim to support the rights of Africans in Libya have any credibility?
Burt was ominously silent on the matter of the inhumane treatment meted out to African people by the new Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) regime
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