The Arab League Council issued a strong condemnation of Libya at an emergency meeting held by the Arab League Council to discuss the bloody crackdown by authorities of popular demonstrations in Libyan cities, including the capital Tripoli.
The council denounced the acts of violence committed against civilians, describing them as neither acceptable nor justifiable. In particular, the council highlighted the hiring of foreign mercenaries and use of live ammunition and heavy artillery against the protesters – all of which constitute severe violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
The council also demanded – in a statement read by the Arab League’s general secretary, Amr Mousa – an immediately cease of all forms of violence and the implantation of a national dialogue. The statement went on to call for the legitimate demands of the Libyan people to be met and for the right of demonstration and free expression to be respected.
The council demanded – in the absence of Libyan representatives – that the Libyan authorities lift the ban on Libyan media and also open communication channels and telephone networks, in addition to insuring the safe passage of aid and medical relief to victims of the violence.
Libyan accusations that Arabs living in Libya were complicit in the violence against the Libyans were dismissed by the council. To look into these claims and determine the situation in Libya, an independent Arab investigative committee will be set up, the statement added. Libyan authorities were, however, reminded of their duty to ensure the safety of all Arab nationals and foreigners residing in Libya, facilitating a safe exit for those who wished to leave.
The council stressed that the aspiration and demands of Arabs for freedom, reform, democratic change, development and social justice are legitimate and must be respected to preserve basic freedoms for citizens and the unity, sovereignty and peace of Arab states.
Perhaps of greatest interest, Libyan delegations were banned from participating in the Arab League and all bodies affiliated to it until the Libyan authorities respond to its demands and guarantee the security and stability of its people.
The council also recommended that its ministerial meeting on 2 March look into whether or not the Libyan Republic adheres to its obligations as a member, as stipulated in the League’s charter.