UNSC demands immediate end to violence in Libya

UNSC demands immediate end to violence in Libya

The Security Council "condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians", following a closed-door meeting of the powerful body last night.

In a statement issued in response to a violent crackdown against pro-democracy protesters in Libya, the 15 members of the Council "called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue."

The Security Council "strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country."

The closed-door meeting of the Council was briefed by B Lynn Pascoe, UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs; and Libya's envoy to the UN, Mohammed Shalgam.
Rosemary DiCarlo, US deputy envoy to the UN, said separately that "the international community has said in one clear and unified voice that it condemns the violence against civilians in Libya, that the violence must cease immediately."

The world body also welcomed the statement issued by the Arab League, which barred Libya from its meetings until it stopped attacking its own people.

Navi Pillay, UN human rights chief, blasted the crackdown by the forces loyal to 68-year-old Gaddafi against the protesters and called for an independent investigation into crimes that may have been committed.

"The international community must unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure justice is rendered to the thousands of victims of this repression," she said.

Following the overthrow of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, large-scale protests have erupted in several countries in the region including Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Libya, however, has responded with an extreme show of force.

International censure against Gaddafi escalated after reports that the regime was firing at the protesters from war planes. UN chief Ban Ki-moon described this as "outrageous."

In a letter to the Council, the country's deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has demanded Gaddafi's resignation, called for establishment of a non-fly zone over Libya and a humanitarian corridor.

During the closed-door meeting of the Council, India called for protection of foreigners and facilitating their safe departure, an official source told PTI.