Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 19th Regular Session

Australian statement on Libya

9 March 2012

The Australian Government thanks the International Commission of Inquiry for its final report to the Council on its investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya. Australia calls for all necessary steps to be taken to ensure that the recommendations in this report are fully implemented.

The Australian Government is profoundly concerned by the Commission’s confirmation that crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed by Qadhafi forces in Libya. The Commission’s conclusion that anti-Qadhafi forces also committed serious violations, including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law, and that the latter are continuing in a climate of impunity is a further cause for great concern. These findings echo distressing reports from Amnesty International and Medecins Sans Frontieres alleging instances of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, extra-judicial executions, and violent incidents targeting Tawerga and other communities.

Those who violate international human rights or humanitarian law must be held to account. Australia will continue to impress upon the interim Libyan Government the importance of ensuring that all allegations of serious international crimes are investigated, irrespective of the affiliation or location of the alleged perpetrator. Australia calls on the Libyan leadership to take immediate steps, including among militias, to promote respect for the rule of law.

To this end, Australia welcomes the statement by the interim Prime Minister of Libya, Abderrahim Al-Keib, delivered during the High-level Segment, which reasserted Libya’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law. Australia joins Mr Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, in calling for strong and urgent measures to give effect to these commitments. In addition, Australia welcomes ongoing efforts to bring all detainees under central Government control and to investigate allegations of torture or ill-treatment.

Australia was an early supporter of international action to assist the Libyan people in their struggle to achieve a new, democratic Libya, and remains firmly committed to Libya’s future. The Australian Government recognises that Libya’s transition to democracy and stability will be challenging, and will require patience and determination. Australia stands with the international community in its steadfast support for Libya’s transition to a stable and free society where justice is delivered without fear or favour and in a climate of full respect for human rights.

We reiterate our thanks to the Commission for its investigation, under extreme circumstances of hardship and insecurity, into allegations of human rights violations and abuses in Libya.