UN rights throws out Russia proposal on Libya detentions

UN rights throws out Russia proposal on Libya detentions

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution urging Libya's new rulers to probe all alleged abuses, but threw out a Russian proposal calling for a halt to arbitrary detentions.

The council also rejected an amendment tabled by the Ugandans, who sought to include a reference to "express deep concern about the deliberate killings ... of persons of Sub-Saharan origins."

The amendments tabled by the two delegations hours before the council session was due to close sparked frantic negotiations among ambassadors.

Russia said its proposal would have made the resolution backed by Western states "more balanced."

"It calls upon the Transitional Government of Libya to address the cases of arbitrary detention, including of foreign nationals, and to release them immediately or to bring them to fair trial," said Russia.

Uganda meanwhile said its amendment was tabled as it feared that "impunity and a deliberate targeting of a particular ethnic group would continue."

"We hope that this amendment will in some nature treat all situations of abuse with equal measure," said the Ugandan envoy.

However, the US and Italy both said they could not support the proposals as they came too late.

Instead a resolution that "strongly encourages the transitional government of Libya to investigate human rights violations" was adopted.

Rights defenders said the resolution did not go far enough.
"The council adopted a resolution on Libya that did not recognize the extent and gravity of ongoing rights abuses there and rejected efforts to ensure continued monitoring of those violations," said Human Rights Watch.

It noted that states including the US and several members of the European Union voted down the Russian and Ugandan proposals "despite claims that they were pressing Libya to address substantial evidence of continuing serious violations of human rights in the country."

"This resolution is blind to the serious abuses in Libya today, including apparent crimes against humanity by some militias," said Julie de Rivero, Human Rights Watch's Geneva director.

"The council's overly rosy outlook on Libya confirms a troubling tendency to move on too quickly when a situation improves," she added.

Investigators ordered by the Human Rights Council during its previous sessions had reported back in March saying that both Moamer Gaddafi's forces and anti-regime troops committed serious crimes in their conflict.

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