posted on Mon 21 Feb 2011 11:40 AM
Insights on Libya

Council members met this morning in informal consultations on the possible format for further discussion on the situation in Libya following the violent government crackdown on anti-government demonstrators yesterday. They agreed to have a closed meeting at 3 pm this afternoon where members will be briefed by the Secretariat, followed by informal consultations. Members are discussing the possibility of a statement of some sort possibly focusing on the safety of foreign nationals and protection of civilians.

Libyan Deputy Permanent Representative Ibrahim Al Dabash sent a letter to the Council requesting it to meet to discuss the situation in Libya. Dabashi, together with most of the diplomats at the Libyan mission, also issued a statement which condemned Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi’s use of “African mercenaries” to put down the rebellion and said it expected “an unprecedented massacre in Tripoli. The statement also appealed to the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan cities and urged guards at Libya’s oil installations to protect them from any sabotage.

An international coalition of human rights organisations citing the UN’s responsibility to protect as contained in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document has called on the US, EU and the Secretary-General to convene the Security Council to protect the people of Libya. They also asked for an Emergency Special Session of the Human Rights Council to be convened to address violations of human rights.

The Secretary-General in a phone call to Gaddafi said that he was “outraged” by the crackdown and told Gaddafi to stop the violence immediately. While the Secretary-General under Article 99 could bring this situation formally to the attention of the Security Council, so far there are no indications that he is about to do so. (Under Rule 3 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure such action would require the Council to meet in a formal session.)