Shameful: Libya on the UN Human Rights Council!  
By: Elias Bejjan

May 14/10

What an insult, a dire humiliation and a dismal disgrace to the essence, core and spirit of global human rights institutions, groups and efforts when a terroristic, fanatical, fundamentalist, and dictatorial country like Libya is elected by a majority of its fellow UN members to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Unquestionably, May 13, 2010 will be remembered as a sad, bleak and shocking day for human rights activists and their efforts all over the world. This day will go in history as a real shame for the UN because human rights values and principles were all slaughtered and downtrodden when in a secret ballot Libya received 155 votes and will henceforth serve a three year term on the UN Human Rights Council.

It is worth mentioning that to get elected onto the UN Human Rights Council each country requires 97 votes. There are a total of 192 countries that make up the United Nations. Libya with the support of Arab, Muslim and African members paved its way to the Human Rights Council that actually negates all human rights values with its notorious and savage and anti-human rights record.

Is the previously reputable UN falling apart and becoming a mere arena and battlefield for terrorists, fundamentalists, dictators and tyrants? In fact there is no logic nor justice, fairness or any kind of reason that could justify this murky infringement. There is no sanity in giving the bizarre and repugnant Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and his repressive regime a UN voice and a voting power on the UN Human Rights Council.

How can the Free World countries swallow such a violation to the whole Charter of Human Rights and allow a country like Libya to sit on a UN human rights body? Aren't they all aware of Libya’s abysmal human rights record, or they don't know its well documented and deeply rooted history of terrorism, crime, kidnapping, hijacking, assassinations and its well known ties to worldwide terrorism and terrorist organizations?

This notorious scandal is actually a humongous setback for the UN and with no doubt will make of the UN Human Rights Council a mere joke with no credibility whatsoever. The UN is being distantly derailed from its original mission of peace and humanity. Unfortunately, this latest development demonstrates that the direction of the United Nations today is slipping from a bad state to even worse.

Can one fathom that a terrorist country was brought into the UN Human Rights Council, a body that once had American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as its chairman?  In keeping with that legacy, shouldn’t the American administration of President Barack Obama have made further efforts to ensure that terrorist Libya did not become a member of the UN Human Rights Council?

Sadly, the US administration did not make these efforts and effectively abandoned its human rights obligations.  And it did so even though a 2009 report from the US State Department states that in Libya there is routine torture of detainees, amputations and flogging of political opposition members without trial, indefinite detention of women “suspected of violating moral codes”, and the criminalization of Christian and Jewish worship. Meanwhile their president, Muammar al-Gaddafi, claims that the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah are forgeries. 

One wonders about the reaction of the families and friends of the Lockerbie victims when they see the Libyan regime that killed their beloved ones is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

How can the countries which voted for Libya ignore the crime that its regime committed in 1988 when it exploded Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland killing all its passengers?

Although Libya has paid $1.5 billion to the families of the victims of the Lockerbie terrorist bombing in order to overcome the final obstacle to full relations with the United States, the country has yet to answer for the numerous global crimes it has committed.

One of these unanswered crimes relates to the reputable Lebanese Shiite religious and political leader, Sayyid Mousa Al Sadr, who in August 1978 with two of his companions, Sheikh Muhammad Yaacoub, and journalist, Abbas Badreddine, departed Lebanon for Libya to meet with government officials. The three were never heard from again. It is widely believed that the Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, personally ordered their killing. The fate of the three is still not clarified and the Libyan authorities continuously refuse to admit their responsibility.

Finally, what the UN members who elected Libya did is that they have placed a wolf in charge of the sheep. It is really a joke. This irresponsible conduct ought to be condemned by the countries of the free world that must assume their responsibilities and put an end for such intolerable breaches against human rights. 

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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