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Libya to fully respect human rights, asserts Zidan

Last updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:09 AM
Prime Minister Ali Zidan at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Monday. — Courtesy photo

TRIPOLI — Libya has every intention of fully respecting human rights in all their various forms, Prime Minister Ali Zidan has told the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Speaking Monday at the council’s 22nd session in Geneva, the prime minister said that two years after the revolution the country was still hurting from the consequences of the Gaddafi dictatorship and still rebuilding its infrastructure. Nonetheless, he stated, a Human Rights Commission had been created and all laws restricting the enjoyment of human rights had been repealed.

Moreover, Libya had ratified several human rights instruments including the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The country was also seeking to spread a culture of human rights through a policy of democracy and empowerment of women, he added. Additionally, the government supported rights for vulnerable people, including persons with disabilities and children.

An agreement had also been reached with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the provision of technical assistance, he explained. All judicial bodies were being restructured. National reconciliation and transitional justice mechanisms were also put in place.

Much of what had been done was thanks to the help of the international community, he said, and he thanked the UN office in Libya for providing technical assistance. Its efforts, he said, had contributed enormously to recent developments in the country.

Until the revolution, Libya’s human rights record was non-existent and its attempts to pretend otherwise cause for ridicule or outrage.

The so-called Muammar Gaddafi Prize for Human Rights, founded in 1989, was dismissed as a propaganda deception and a sick joke.

However, in 2003, there was fury among international human rights organizations when the regime’s ambassador to United Nations Human Rights Commission, Najat Al-Hajjaji, was elected to head it. The move helped finally discredit what by then had become a toothless organization. It was replaced by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006. — Libya Herald

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