International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 28, 2003

January 28, 2003




**  Libya's "preposterous" victory is "surreal, insulting...and politically obscene."

**  Some praised Libya's selection as "a setback for U.S. interference" in the rest of the world. 

**  Both Africa's "dubious third world solidarity" and Europe's "mealy-mouthed abstention" in the UNHRC vote drew criticism.

**  Leftist papers, touting the UN's role on Iraq, feared the vote will affect the UN's "credibility."



'The appointment is a mistake'--  European and Canadian dailies were nonplused that "Libya's despicable human-rights record was no barrier" to its selection as chair of the UN Human Rights Commission.  Italy's centrist La Stampa expressed horror at Qaddafi "in the role of human rights sheriff."  The liberal Toronto Star joined many in blasting Libya's "long record of gross human rights violations."  Paris's left-of-center Le Monde found the election of such an "opaque regime founded on secrecy and intimidation...laughable." 


Some hail a 'fresh slap' to the U.S.--  Like many developing country outlets, Tunisia's independent Le Temps called U.S. protests "incongruous" and said that on human rights the "U.S. is far from a model."  Burkina Faso's independent Ouagadougou-based Le Pays cited how "Washington maltreats prisoners in Guantanamo" to assert that "human rights are not universal."  Vietnam's official Lao Dong added that "African not agree with the U.S. stance" on human rights.  Gambia News & Report concluded, "Libya was seen as the needed antidote to Western human rights skidding" that is "commonplace" in the current war against terror.


'Political considerations' gained the upper hand in the UNHRC vote--  African "solidarity with Libya" and the "EU's lack of diplomatic courage" both received criticism.  Belgium's left-of-center Le Soir accused African countries of deciding "the best way to control a fox was to set it to mind the geese," while Canada's leading Globe & Mail accused Libya of using "petrodollars" to buy support.  Many papers criticized Western European democracies for getting "lost in diplomatic maneuvers" and "cowardly" failing to oppose Tripoli's nomination.    


The UN has 'really and thoroughly shot itself in the foot'--  Many dailies agreed that Libya's victory "strips the UN of strength and moral seriousness" just when it "has been seriously challenged by the Iraqi crisis."  France's Le Monde predicted that "White House hawks will jump on this inglorious episode," and Poland's leftist Trybuna warned the UNHRC "will become a mockery."  Portugal's centrist Expresso agreed that the "UN comes out very badly wounded by this gigantic outrage."  Canadian papers concluded the UN "cannot have any credibility in moderating disputes among nations" after it allowed the UNHRC to cede "leadership to one of the planet's worst rights abusers." 

EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 29 reports from 16 countries over 18-27 January 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




FRANCE:  "Outrage To Human Rights"


Bruno Frappat wrote in Catholic La Croix (1/22):  "If the subject weren’t so serious we would die laughing. This is an outrageous affront to two major achievements of the 20th century: the UN and human rights....  Just when so many nations, including France, are urging the U.S. to abide by the UN and its laws...there is something surreal and insulting to common sense and something politically obscene in a gesture that detracts from the legitimacy of a UN symbol.”


"Laughable...But Serious"


Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (1/22):  "Libya’s regime is probably behind one of the most deadly terrorist attacks of the 80’s--PANAM flight 103....  It is an opaque regime founded on secrecy and intimidation....  This regime has just been awarded the presidency of the UNHR Commission.  Libya’s nomination in Durban was bad enough....  The subject would be laughable if it weren’t so serious and loaded with consequences.  This is a choice that will affect the credibility of the UN in public opinion just when the organization is called on to play a major role in the Iraqi crisis.  The election comes just when many nations, including France, are promoting the idea that the UN alone has the moral and legal authority to approve a war against Iraq.  It is easy to imagine how quickly the White House hawks will jump on this inglorious episode to discredit the UN.”


GERMANY:   “Perverse”


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/21):  “We do not know what is more annoying: the fact that Libya of all nations has been elected the chairman of the UNHRC or the fact that the European nations abstained from voting--out of fear that the African group of nations could take 'revenge’ in case of a negative vote?  It is nothing new that nations have always been members of this Commission that ignored human rights as ‘trinkets’ or as an instrument of Western interference....  But the fact that one of the worst nations has now been elected chairman can hardly be exceeded in its frivolity.  And the Europeans cowardly ducked to for cover.  We still remember the malicious glee when the U.S. was voted out of this Commission in 2001.  This was considered a kind of punishment for President Bush’s unilateral moves, but that step could hardly be celebrated as a triumph for human rights.  The fact that Libya was now elected is simply a perversion.  The African states which were behind it...are now practicing the most dubious kind of Third World solidarity.”


“Libya As Guardian Of Human Rights”


Frank Herold opined in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (1/21):  “If we seek a country that has the moral and political authority to head the UN Human Rights Commission, nobody would ever think of Libya.  But the UN does not function this way.  It reflects a situation, not as it should be, but as it is.  And not only Libya’s attitude towards human rights is extremely questionable but also the role of a number of members, among them the United States....  The African nations have now used their right to make suggestions and made Libya’s representative the head of the Commission....  The view that states can buy positions in the United Nations--or the view that at least a plausible suspicion exists that the system functions that way--is disastrous.  The same is true for the fact that states suddenly turn into guardians of human rights, even though they do not give a damn about them at home.  But this mistake cannot be repaired in the current UN system.  That is why it is all the more important that independent NGOs that fight for the implementation of human rights do not let up.”


"Political Considerations Have Priority"


Bernd Pickert wrote in Berlin's center-leftist Die Tageszeitung (1/21):  "These days, human rights are not in a good state.  In the battle over the chairmanship of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, once again political considerations gained the upper hand.  The goal of pushing through a global human rights policy got the poor end of the deal.  That is not surprising in such a heterogeneous body to which belong, in addition to Libya, the United States and 47 other countries, also such illustrious defenders of the cause as China, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Saudi Arabia....  Hence the Commission observes UN rules: provided with the right to make proposals, the African regional group proposed Libya for the chairmanship.  The United States rejected that and demanded a vote in which it was defeated.  The Libyan government wants to shed its old pariah status and demonstrate its political weight in Africa.  The United States wants to prevent that.  All of which has nothing to do with human rights....  These bodies do not gain thereby any striking power.   Whoever himself violates human rights cannot credibly accuse others.   But come now: at a time when there is open discussion in the United States about the use of torture, and the West celebrates friendship with Russia despite mass killings in Chechnya, Libya also can head the Human Rights Commission.   That, one might want to sigh, also no longer matters."


ITALY:  "The Humane Al-Qadhafi"


Massimo Gramellini commented in Turin's centrist, influential La Stampa (1/21):  "Europe's mealy-mouthed abstention (they are all laughing behind our backs, [EU Commission President Romano] Prodi says, and from now on they will be laughing in our faces too) has handed Qadhdhafi's Libya the chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.   It will, in other words, have the job of investigating the same crimes it itself commits on its own home ground....  Al-Qadhdhafi in the role of human rights sheriff is a slap in the face of history....  Eurocowards aside, Libya has won because most of the countries that voted for it are in the same boat on human rights, and the boat it is in is a leaky one.  The United Nations is a wonderful thing, but if it wants to be taken seriously, it should demand that its commissioners meet at least the minimum requisites in terms of democracy that they claim they want to defend everywhere, provided that means elsewhere."


"The UN's Role And Its Credibility"


Gianni Riotta wrote in leading, centrist Corriere della Serra (1/20):  "The paradox of the moment sees the United Nations, with its scant real power, having extraordinary prestige in the world, while the United States, with its unparalleled military force, suffers from a case of scant moral legitimacy....  This is why the UN decision, following suggestions by the African countries, to promote the candidacy of Colonel Muhammar Qadhafi's Libya as "chairman" of the human rights commission, a body tasked with defending the freedom to say whatever one wants, to vote as one pleases, and to exercise whatever religious and political faith is so disturbing....  If opposition by the United States fails to assert itself, starting today, the United Nations will install one of Qadhafi's party bigwigs as civil rights arbiter.   What, then, will be the commission's credibility?....  Europe thinks it can abstain, worried as it is about diplomacy and its business dealings with Tripoli, whereas the Americans are doing all they can to hold the United Nations in check.   How is it possible to oppose US President George W. Bush's war in the name of international rights and then go ahead and trust a dictator believed to have masterminded the Lockerbie tragedy, one who sponsors terrorism and who denies his citizens every basic freedom?....  However, as a champion of human rights Qadhafi is only a scarecrow, one who strips the United Nations of strength and moral seriousness at the very time it has to express itself on an especially difficult war."  


BELGIUM:  "Ridiculous Vote"


Colette Braeckman observed in left-of-center Le Soir (1/21):  "Although Gadhafi has tried since 1998 to become a credible interlocutor again by expelling the Abu Nidal group, by giving information on the IRA to British authorities, by launching an international arrest warrant against Usama bin Laden even before the attacks against the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and by providing information on sleeping Islamic terrorist cells in Europe in Africa, Libya remains the country that organized the terrible bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie as well as a country where human rights are constantly violated: political prisoners, use of torture, no freedom of expression, and refusal to allow human rights NGOs.  Besides, although Tripoli signed twelve anti-terrorist conventions, it still has not ratified the convention banning chemical weapons.  By electing Libya at the head of the UN Human Rights Commission, in addition to challenging the Americans, African countries perhaps considered that the best way to control a fox was to set it to mind the geese.”


DENMARK:  "Baroque"


Copenhagen-based centrist Politikien opined (1/22):  "If an international organization is looking for a way to reduce its own significance and moral status....  It is called the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which, with Monday's [20 January] decision to make Libya its new chairman, has really and thoroughly shot itself in the foot.   Because you could not hope to find a less qualified champion of human rights than Libya....  This country is now the chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission and the fact that this could have happened underscores the problems in both the UN's decision-making process and the EU's lack of diplomatic courage....  That Libya has been elected is due namely to a combination of the fact that it is Africa's 'turn' to occupy the post and that Libya has used some of its considerable oil money to buy itself a leading role among African countries.  The fact that poor countries' votes can be bought is regrettable and yet can be fully understood....  The United States, however, did the only right thing: for the first time ever, it insisted on a vote on the chairman's post and, together with Canada and Guatemala, they voted against it.  Well done, and something the many Europeans, who always talk disparagingly about the US's cynical power policy and indifference toward human rights, ought to do a bit of thinking about."  


POLAND:  “Kaddafi’s Law”


Robert Soltyk wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (1/20):  “The officials in Kaddafi’s regime are really the best to decide what are and are not human rights violations--they have enormous experience in this area. They have already begun to teach a lesson to the United States which is lamenting under the tyranny of George W. Bush. Kidding aside, we have crossed the limit of absurdity. What is the most painful is that Western European democracies got lost in diplomatic maneuvers. Do they really think so little of values such as truth, justice, the rule of law, protection of the weak and the oppressed, which should be so dear to every democrat, be it America or Europe? Without them, international relations become a brutal game of interests in which the strongest wins. In a world like this, the UN is just a dummy whose agencies can he headed not only by Libya, but also by Cuba, Iraq, North Korea.”


“Libya To Safeguard Law”


Krystyna Szelestowska opined in leftist Trybuna (1/21):  "Now that Libya is to assess respective countries for human rights abuses, perhaps it will try to improve its image with this regard, and it will embark on the road of the rule of law....  Rumor has it that Colonel Kaddafi will announce amnesty for political prisoners and start political reforms to mark Libya’s chairmanship. May it be so. Otherwise, the UN [Human Rights] Commission will become a mockery and will put into question the very sense of its existence.”


PORTUGAL:  “Useless Niceties”


Influential moderate-left Público journalist Rui Baptista noted (1/27):  “The election of Libya to head the United Nations Human Rights Commission is grotesque, and couldn’t have occurred at a worse time.  It discredits the UN, removes arguments of those who think that a war against Iraq should only occur with the express approval of the United Nations, and reveals the cynicism of some European countries."


"Human Rights"


Princeton-based Amb. José Cutileiro, former Secretary-General of the Western European Union, commented in top-circulation centrist weekly Expresso (1/25):  "This week, the [UNHR] Commission (that is, the member governments, including seven Europeans) hit bottom....  The United Nations comes out very badly wounded by this gigantic outrage, which undoes a great part of Kofi Annan's work to make the organization sensible, effective and respected.  At a time when Europeans are trying to convince the U.S. to submit itself to the Security Council's decisions, abstaining from voting 'to avoid offending Africa' demonstrates a frightening shortsightedness. And then they wonder why."


"Libya, Iraq And European Hypocrisy"


Influential moderate-left Público Editor Teresa de Sousa wrote (1/24):  "[In the voting on Libya’s candidacy to head the UNHCR], Europe--in a habitual exercise of hypocrisy--preferred not to distinguish farce from tragedy, and to apply its discreet but always present ‘realpolitik’.  It counted heads and abstained.  Why stir up enmity among African dictators for so little?  The ‘little’ in this case seems to be the credibility of the UN.  The behavior of Europe becomes more insupportable when Europe appears at first glance to be engaged in a fight over principle against an extemporaneous and unjustified attack on Iraq....  The major risk that this attitude creates is that of increasing confusion in public opinion even more, confusing the threats and confusing the enemy.  Which is not America, however wrong its strategy might be, but certainly the countries that, like Iraq, make their respective peoples ‘human shields’ for their own demented ambitions, and are the true threats to international security and stability.  Like Libya, regarding which Europe is inclined to look the other way.  In exchange for what?"


"Libya And World Government"


Influential moderate-left Público Editor-in-Chief José Manuel Fernandes opined (1/23):  "An organization that permits the election of Libya to [preside over the UNCHR] is very far, too far, from seeming like any sort of 'global government' under whose protective umbrella the peaceful peoples of the entire world could gather.  When it's going to be a mandate for Khaddafi to keep watch over respect for human rights on a planetary scale, then it's time to say that I'd rather live on another planet.  So let's not have any illusions.  The United Nations is still not, nor will it soon be, anything looking like a World Government under which we would want to live.  It is useful, necessary and sometimes indispensable to get international agreements and avoid armed conflicts.  But if the international law that rules it allows for elections like that of Libya, then maybe we ought to stop worshiping, like some sacrosanct Buddha, this 'international law' covered by the United Nations."




EGYPT:  "Winning The Chairmanship" 


Pro-opposition Al-Ahrar editorialized (1/21):  "Libya has won the chairmanship of the U.N. Human Rights Commission....  This is 'a fresh slap on the U.S.’' face.'"


LIBYA:  "Hailing An Election"


Chief Editor Ahmad al-Huni wrote in London-based Arab nationalist Arabic-language Al-Arab al-Alamiyah (1/21):  "Libya's election as president of the UN Human Rights Commission is a 'victory' for Libya and...a setback for U.S. interference in the Arab world." 


TUNISIA:  "The Odd And The Even"


Deputy Editor-in-Chief Hajer Jeridi declared in independent French-language Le Temps (1/22):  "The American opposition to the election of Libya to chair this year's session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva--even if it did not make a change--is quite rightly, incongruous....  When Washington persists in trying to launch a military aggression against Iraq relying on a heavy military artillery, ignoring the voices of peace and the injunctions of its allies, we wonder what kind of protection does this country attribute to defend human rights? When this same country supports a bloody Israeli government guilty of revolting massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian people, we ask ourselves questions on the true definition that the U.S. gives to this concept?....The U.S. is far from being a model."




VIETNAM:  "Bitter Fruit"


Lu Pho An opined in official Vietnam General Confederation of Labor-run Lao Dong (1/19):  "The U.S. and the West have failed in their efforts to prevent Libya from being elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights....  That African countries unanimously nominated Libya is not simply because in recent years Libya has significantly been more responsible for and contributed to the process to unite Africa, but also because they do not agree with the U.S. stance and the way it behaved as a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights.  To the U.S., the election of Libya is really a bitter fruit.  Last year, the U.S. was dismissed from the commission and currently is just an observer."




BURKINA FASO:  "Solidarity"


Ouagadougou-based pro-opposition French-language Le Pays editorialized (1/23):  "Africa has shown solidarity with Libya by electing her to the chair of the UN human rights commission....  It would not be proper to marginalize Libya.  On the contrary, her election will make her more responsible in human rights issues....  When Washington maltreats prisoners in Guantanamo or when Israel shoots at Palestinian children like game, it were as though human rights are not universal....  In conclusion, we congratulate African countries for their unity in action."


GAMBIA:  "Libya To Head H/Rights Commission Good Or Bad Move?"


The Banjul-based English-language weekly Gambia News and Report Magazine opined (1/22):  "The choice of Libya by African countries to head the UN Human rights commission has attracted the ire of the United States and other human rights groups that feel that Tripoli's human rights records is far from being without reproach.  Now viewing this choice from the Gambian shores, we first tried to understand the reason that led South Africa to give way to Tripoli when her chances were palpable. We also looked at the massive Africa vote for Libya.  South Africa is enjoying very good relations with the West and sitting on the chair of the said commission would have been likely to create misunderstanding between her and these close allies....  Libya was seen as the needed antidote to Western Human rights skidding that has now become commonplace in the name of war against terror.  The choice of Libya to head UN Human Rights commission should be seen in that light, although some would argue that most African countries are one way or the other indebted to Tripoli....  But there's another dimension to the Tripoli's choice. Libya is viewed by many countries as a haven of terrorism and a violator of human rights. Now for some it makes sense to have such a violator head the commission. This school of thought is strengthened by an African adage that says that a baby is safe if given for keeping to a community's cannibal.  In other words, by being at the helm of the UN human rights body, Tripoli is forced to uphold these principles internally and with more vigour and resolution for their observance and respect among big and small nations.


SOUTH AFRICA:  "Cheap Shot At U.S. Harms Africa's People"


Peter Fabricius wrote in the independent Pretoria News (1/24):  "Geo-strategic security concerns are increasingly overriding the concerns about democracy and human rights which gained importance in what may unfortunately come to be seen as a brief inter-regnum period between two wars.  America's soft-pedalling on the undemocratic practices of Pakistan, its essential ally in the fight against the Taliban, is the obvious example.  A lesser-known case is the tiny Central African state of Equatorial Guinea where President Teodoro Obiang Nguema was re-elected with over 97% of the vote on December 15.  The US, while noting irregularities, gave it a pass mark.  It is perhaps coincidental that the country is gushing in oil and that Nguema is a fervent US ally in the war against international terrorists....  There are also signs that Africa may become a pawn in the new game, as it was in the old, if it does not watch out.  This week the UNHCR elected Libya as its new chairman, despite strong opposition from the US because of Libya's own dismal human rights record.  Africa probably chose Libya deliberately to stick it to America.  It is all too easy for African leaders to tag along with the prevailing anti-Americanism and anti-Anglo-Saxonism, especially those who have felt the lash of US righteousness about their bad behaviour.  They will point to America's own human rights transgressions in the treatment of Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the oily hypocrisy of overlooking Nguema's election rigging and alleged plundering of his country's oil.  The price of this cheap shot at the US has been to confirm the world's worst stereotypes about Africa as a continent that does not take human rights seriously."


"Africa's Error Of Judgment"


The liberal Star commented (1/23):  "Many African leaders often rightly accuse the international community of sidelining their continent and treating it with disdain....  But when it is Africa's time to shine, to display the best it has, it is found wanting.  Of all the countries on the continent, its leaders found Libya to be the best continental ambassador for human rights...  Libya's human rights track record is appalling....  We believe the appointment is a mistake; it undermines the continent's effort to change world perception about Africa....  Africa under renaissance leaders such as...Mbeki and...Obasanjo, has a unique opportunity to give quality leadership to a world that has seen the corruption of morality.  This can be done only if African leaders can be brutally honest with each other, calling each other to order when needed. They should be sincere about this.  They should not do it to try to please the West to secure donor funds, but because it is the right thing to do. Their people certainly deserve good governance."




BRAZIL:  "A Terrible Joke"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (1/23):  "Libya's election to the UNHRC's chairmanship is grotesque. Colonel Qadhafi's regime is nothing but a military dictatorship where human rights are not respected at all....  To place a nation with such a record at the head of the UNHRC is a terrible joke....  Libya's candidacy was the result of Third World nations' votes. Some of them such as Cuba, Algeria and Sudan have a human rights record similar to that of Libya....  It is known that the three nations courageous enough to vote against Libya were the U.S., Canada and Guatemala. The seven EU members of the UNHRC shamefully abstained from voting. Brazil either did the same or supported the farce....  The damage caused to the UN's image is significant, especially at a moment when the organization has been seriously challenged by the Iraqi crisis. The UNHRC's members could not have chosen a worse moment to test the UN's credibility."


CANADA:  “Gadhafi's Prize”


The leading Globe and Mail opined (1/21):  “Inside the United Nations, where votes are routinely treated as commodities to be traded for past or future favours, Libya's despicable human-rights record was no barrier to its nomination. The chairmanship of the commission rotates annually among the world's five regional blocs. A lot of horse-trading might go on, but the eventual choice is normally approved by acclamation. This year, it's the turn of the Africans; and Libya, which has been extremely generous in distributing its petrodollars throughout the continent, was their only candidate. It should be noted that the commission is not a working agency and has no permanent staff....  Having a voice on the commission can help deflect...probes and water down or block resolutions condemning particular behaviour. If it really wanted these resolutions to have any meaning, the UN would do well to demand minimum qualifications for the chairmanship. A democratic government that allows free speech and other basic rights would be a good start.”


"Fox In Henhouse"


The tabloid Calgary Sun editorialized (1/21):  "The UN suffered yet another blow to its credibility yesterday when Libya was elected to chair its Human Rights Commission.  The timing of this absurdity couldn't be worse for the beleaguered UN.  There are at least three hotspots around the world crying out for a diplomatic voice that commands some respect: Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and sabre-rattling North Korea, which pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty last week.  But it is Africa's turn to occupy the human-rights chair and that continent's nominee is Libya--presided over by none other than the wacky and depraved dictator, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.  This tyrant is anything but a guardian of human rights.  Political opponents in Libya have been killed and tortured.  The Pan Am plane blasted out of the sky by a bomb in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is among the terrorist bombings in which Libya has been implicated....  The vote represents yet another serious fracture in the credibility of the UN....  Given the shame Libya's appointment brings to the UN, it's time the international body abandoned appointments based on geography.  Merit alone should be the basis of such decisions, even if it means one country is appointed more than once.  The UN cannot have any credibility in moderating disputes among nations when it puts a fox in charge of the henhouse where the human rights issues of the world are aired and debated."


"Rights Body's Credibility Hurt"


The conservative Saskatoon Star-Phoenix declared (1/21):  "When it has become more important than ever for the United Nations to shore up its credibility to deal with pressing global issues, the election of Libya to head the UN human rights commission is a nasty setback....  Canada justifiably had joined the U.S. opposition to having Al-Hajjaji lead an agency whose goals mean virtually nothing to the country she represents....  17 western European countries abstained rather than offend the African Union by rejecting an odious nomination widely viewed with dismay by human rights groups.  The Europeans may have acted upon a misguided notion about the value of not alienating Africa or hampering the work of the commission, but their decision not to vote on their principles harms the watchdog agency and the UN itself.  There are suggestions that Libya secured the nomination as a quid pro quo for its notorious Moammar Gadhafi agreeing to finance the newly created African Union....   Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have plenty of reasons why a Libyan shouldn't head the UN agency. They point to abduction and assassination of political opponents by Libyan authorities and the mistreatment and torture of prisoners. AI investigators haven't been able to secure permission to visit Tripoli, even though Libya promised after Al-Hajjaji's nomination that it has improved its conduct and would facilitate inspections....  Instead, as happened with the UN's touted anti-racism conference in Durban that turned out to be a despicable orgy of anti-Semitism, its human rights commission is losing all credibility by ceding leadership to one of the planet's worst rights abusers."


"Thumbs Down"


The liberal Toronto Star noted (1/21):  "Thumbs the United Nations, for electing a Libyan diplomat to head the United Nations Human Rights Commission despite Libya's long record of gross human rights violations. This farce ranks right up there with putting Syria on the Security Council"


"Libya Has No Place In Human Rights Body"


The nationalist, liberal Montreal-based Gazette declared (1/18):  "This is no joke. Has the United Nations no shame? It's bad enough that Libya has a seat on the commission; it's preposterous that it should have the chair....  Hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are rotting behind bars in Libyan jails, that freedom of expression is severely limited and that forming political parties and criticizing the government are illegal....  Canada should do everything it can to stop Libya from getting the job. The UN has enough credibility problems as it is without appointing the fox to guard the henhouse.  But our efforts will probably be of little avail. Barring a major diplomatic coup, Libya seems assured of its undeserved honour, thanks to the UN's arcane rules. It's Africa's turn to pick the commission chair, and the continent's leadership appears to have lined up behind Gadhafi....  For their own sake and the sake of the UN, African leaders should drop their support for Libya."



Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home