Human Rights Situation in Libya. Human Rights Council Special Session 25 February 2011. Statement of Norway.
Norway welcomes this timely opportunity to address the critical human rights situation in Libya. It is a duty of this Council to react urgently to the widespread and grave breaches of fundamental human rights that we are witnessing in the country.
Norway strongly condemns the Libyan authorities’ ruthless use of violence against the civilian population. The use of military force against peaceful protesters exercising their rights to expression and assembly is unacceptable.
We urge Libyan authorities to do their utmost to prevent further deterioration of the crisis. We call for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to be taken to address the legitimate demands of the population. We urge the Libyan authorities to allow full access for the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
It is difficult to verify reports of specific events and the number of people killed and wounded. Lines of communication are poor and journalists are not allowed into the country. There is, however, no doubt that the situation in Libya is extremely serious and that the civilian population is being subjected to gross and systematic human rights violations.
Norway strongly supports the call of the High Commissioner for an independent international investigation into the violent suppression of protests in the country. Unlawful acts of violence must not go unpunished. The responsible must be held accountable.
Protesters throughout the region are calling for greater political freedom. Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamental human rights and are prerequisites for democratic development. Norway supports all peoples’ desire to live in a society where all human rights, including civil and political rights are safeguarded. We believe freedom of expression and assembly is a precondition for sustainable development and prosperity.
The events throughout the region in the past weeks send a strong message about the force of legitimate popular demands for participation and the opportunity to exert an influence. We are seeing how this force can rise up to the surface and cause authoritarian regimes with powerful police and security forces to falter.
We are seeing that in the long run – in an increasingly globalised and electronically interconnected world – a democratic deficit and a lack of respect for human rights is not sustainable. The will of the people must be the basis of the authority of any government.
In the resolution establishing the Human Rights Council, there is the requirement that members “shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”. What is happening in Libya is in starke contrast to this important requirement.
In closing, Norway hopes that this Council will send a strong and united message to the Libyan authorities.