We welcome Libya back to the Human Rights Council. Muammar Qadhafi’s Libya was the only member of the HRC that has ever been suspended for gross and systematic violations of human rights, as called for in resolution 60/251 that created the Council. We commend the new Libyan government for the strong affirmation made in Geneva at the last Human Rights Council session, that commits Libya to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” for all its people, as noted in OP9 of the HRC’s founding resolution. We look forward to working closely with our Libyan colleagues to address critical human rights concerns in Libya and around the world.
We see a future in Libya with a new government that responds to the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people, respects their universal human rights, and adheres to Libya’s international commitments and obligations. Backed by increasing international support, the Transitional National Council demonstrated a clean break from the Qadhafi legacy through its sincere willingness to protect and respect the rights and fundamental freedoms of the Libyan people and respond to their legitimate aspirations for governance that embraces human rights principles and gives its citizens a meaningful voice in how they are governed. We support that effort.
Nonetheless, we remain concerned by reports of human rights abuses and violations in Libya. The TNC has stated that it will work to ensure security and accountability according to the rule of law and in line with Libya’s international obligations and commitments that protect all people in Libya regardless of nationality, race or political affiliation, and we have called on the TNC to hold Libya to those commitments. The TNC has cooperated fully with UNHCR, IOM, and NGOs as they have visited detention facilities to investigate reports of arbitrary detention and the abuse of Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans. We commend the TNC for its openness to working with the international community, and for calling upon the UN to provide technical assistance to allow it to protect human rights, particularly for individuals belonging to vulnerable groups, and to support transitional justice.
The UN has invaluable expertise in areas that will be crucially important in the days, weeks and months ahead including security sector reform, humanitarian affairs, political reconciliation, human rights assistance, constitutional development, transitional justice, and elections. It will be important to ensure that assistance in these and other areas is coordinated across the UN system. As the situation stabilizes, the United States will continue to be fully engaged with our international partners, particularly the UN, to ensure that the Libyan people have the support they need to build their new country.
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