Holy See Expresses Grief Over Libya Situation

Prelate Decries Violation of Elemental Rights

GENEVA, FEB. 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is expressing “consternation and grief” due to the bloody repression of the protests taking place in Libya at present, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi.

The Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva affirmed this Friday during a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which met to assess the measures being taken toward this North African country.

As happened in other countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, protests have also been unleashed in Libya against the ruling regime. However, the authorities in the latter country, supported by paid mercenaries, have turned to violent measures to squelch the protests.

At present, it is impossible to confirm the number of victims since the uprising began on Feb. 15. Reports range from the hundreds to the thousands of dead protestors. Many sources are speaking of common graves on the beach of Tripoli where victims are buried.

Archbishop Tomasi said Friday on Vatican Radio, “The Holy See states that first of all it is necessary to put an end to this violence and effect a return to dialogue to see if a solution can be found.”

“These protests express the popular will for active and democratic participation in the management of the country,” he added.

The prelate continued: “The Holy See expresses its disconcert and grief over the very many victims caused by this Libyan crisis.

“It also seeks to understand how these decisions of the international community could be effective for the benefit of the citizens of Libya.”

He underlined the need to prevent the “massive exodus” that “could be inevitable if a peaceful and agreed upon solution is not found for this crisis.”

Special session

The archbishop reported that the Human Rights Council “has been in agreement on taking the decision to organize a special session to deal with the Libyan crisis,” in which the Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the representatives of independent experts of several sectors of Human Rights have intervened.

Pillay noted on Friday that “thousands may have been killed or injured” in Libya.

Archbishop Tomasi noted that the states that have intervened, have “totally” condemned the “use of violence on the part of the authorities against civilians, the use of the military, of bombs and of mercenaries.”

“All this clearly constitutes a violation of the most elemental rights,” he said, “among them the right to assemble and liberty of expression.”

The prelate stressed that the protests are a consequence of the “popular will that seeks a different participation in the management of the state.”

In the course of Friday’s meeting, “important recommendations were made,” the archbishop affirmed.

He explained, “The first is that the United Nations General Assembly — which has the authority — should suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, of which it is a member, because the Libyan authorities have behaved in a way totally contrary to the principles of the Human Rights Council.”

The second recommendation, the prelate concluded, is “to create an international investigation mission, which should go to Libya to examine how things really are and to see how to help to remedy and block this enormous violence against the civilian population.”

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