For Immediate Release: March 18, 2011
Washington, DC – Human Rights First today welcomed the passage of Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizing the use of all necessary means to protect civilians in Libya.
“When a government has engaged in gross and systematic violations of human rights against its own people, has launched military operations against its own people with little regard for civilian life, and is threatening to hunt down and kill its political opponents, the international community has an obligation to act to deter gross violations of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks.
Human Rights First also applauds the successful efforts of the U.S. government to organize multilateral support for the resolution, including support from the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as well as the non-use of their veto powers by Russia and China. These diplomatic efforts have enabled the international community to send a clear message to the Libyan government that it must end its assault on its own people.
The group has consistently called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Libya and notes that the authorization of the use of military force is distinct from the actual use of force. Already the passage of the Security Council resolution seems to have persuaded the Libyan government to call for a ceasefire. If this call is accompanied by a complete cessation in military operations it would be a positive step.
“The Libyan government must now move swiftly to meet the legitimate demands of the Libyan people for more representative, more responsive government that will uphold respect for the basic rights and freedoms of all Libyans. The investigation into reported grave crimes, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, must continue and those responsible must be held to account,” Hicks concluded.