31/08/2011

Libyan Rebels Reject UN Forces

The transitional government in Libya have rejected an effort by the United Nations to send ground troops to the turbulent country.

On Wednesday, a National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman said Libya did not need outside help for security after the UN's General Secretary said he wanted to get UN personnel "on the ground absolutely as quickly as possible".

Speaking in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said the United Nations felt “extreme alarm” at reports of “atrocious human rights violations” in Libya, including mass summary executions apparently carried out by Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi’s forces in the last few days before they lost the capital, Tripoli.

“Given the gruesome discoveries that have taken place over the past few days, there is good reason to be extremely concerned for their safety. We urge any members of the former regime in a position to reveal where prisoners have been held to do so, before more lives are lost.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the Security Council for quick decisive action now.

“My aim is to get UN personnel on the ground absolutely as quickly as possible.

“I cannot overstate the urgency of this moment. Time is of the essence. The people of Libya are looking to the international community for help,” he added, noting that water supplies are critically short, with 60% of Tripoli’s 3-million-strong population without water and sanitation, and stressing the urgent need to provide sufficient fuel and spare parts to avoid further shutdowns of the water system.

Mr Ban also referred to the growing evidence of summary executions, torture and human rights violations.

“These will be looked into by the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, which is expected to submit its first oral update to the Human Rights Council on 19 September,” he said.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up its logistical support for the humanitarian relief effort in the North African country, sending in urgent supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel to Tripoli, the coastal areas and the Nafusa mountain region.

The aid includes 600 tons of staple food commodities – including wheat flour, pasta, vegetable oil and tomato paste – for distribution by the Libyan Red Crescent for more than 35,500 conflict-affected and displaced people for one month.

(DW/BMcC)

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