The polar opposite positions of progressive Latin America with Israel and the west at UNGA meeting on Libya (March 2011): Peace vs War
These are the Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, Cuban and Israeli addresses to UN General Assembly meeting that lead to the extraordinary suspension of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah from the Human Rights Council, in violation of the United Nation’s own procedures as pointed out by the Venezuelan and Cuban contributions.
The statements clearly demonstrate that the progressive nations of Latin America, which have historically been victims of violations of international law at the hands of western powers, took a position of reminding the General Assembly of its own procedures, while Israel and its allies walked all over them.
UN General Assembly, Sixty-fifth session, 76th plenary meeting.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011. New York
Draft Resolution (A/65/l.60): “the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, may suspend the rights of membership in the [Human Rights] Council of a member of the Council”
Mrs. Rubiales de Chamorro (Nicaragua) (spoke in Spanish):
As a country that has survived several military occupations and acts of aggression by a foreign Power, for which we have paid a high price in Nicaraguan lives, Nicaragua advocates and will continue to advocate for peace and reconciliation.
Wherever and under all circumstances, dialogue and negotiation among brothers is the only viable way to resolve internal conflicts and guarantee the sovereignty and integrity of a nation and its territory.
Nicaragua is extremely concerned about the loss of life among innocent civilians. In this case in particular, we profoundly regret the loss of life among the people of Libya, a country with which Nicaragua has enjoyed close links. We trust in the abilities and the wisdom of the Libyan people and its leadership, headed by Muammar Al-Qadhafi, to resolve their domestic problems and find a peaceful solution in a sovereign manner, without foreign interference, double standards or foreign military intervention of any type or under any justification.
This is why we are deeply concerned by the ferocious media campaign being waged against Libya and its people. The news is contradictory, inflated and used at the whim of the great centers of power. It serves only to incite violence and seeks to justify foreign military aggression and intervention, which would only lead to more bloodshed, chaos and destabilization, opening the way once again to those who wish to appropriate the vast oil resources of the Libyan people.
Nicaragua wishes to state for the record that it condemns all attempts by those Powers to divide Libya’s territory in order to acquire its natural resources. Nicaragua would also like to state on the record that implementing this measure to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council will not only fail to resolve the domestic crisis being experienced by the Libyan people, but will also set a bad precedent. Suspending a country’s rights as a member of the Human Rights Council, precipitously and based upon the sort of information we have seen from media disseminated from the great power centers, creates a precedent for countries that use selectivity as their principal guide to foreign policy.
Those countries, which turn a blind eye to their own massive human rights violations while claiming that the rest of us should ignore them as well, are the same countries that invade our peoples and set up secret prisons. Nicaragua rejects and condemns such a double standard in moral values. Human rights violations include those perpetrated against the Arab and Palestinian peoples; against Nicaragua, as noted in the decision of the International Court of Justice; and against the five Cuban heroes.
Nicaragua calls for calm and negotiation, putting aside double standards, and the promotion of dialogue. We hold out the hope that the Libyan people will be able to achieve peace while fully exercising their national sovereignty.
Mr. Valero Briceño (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) (spoke in Spanish): The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its deep regret over recent events in Libya and laments the loss of human lives in that brotherly country.
Venezuela is historically linked to the Arab and African worlds. Our roots are nourished by those ancient cultures, which have greatly contributed to the forging of human relations on the basis on peace, solidarity and justice. The Venezuelan people stand with the Libyan people in the struggle for national liberation and the self-determination of peoples and in forging solidarity among the countries of the South. The free Libyan people must define their own destiny without foreign interference. Sovereign peoples are the only protagonists of history, and no foreign force is authorized to intervene in the internal affairs of the Libyan nation.
We commend the efforts of friendly countries members of the Security Council to prevent resolution 1970 (2011) from becoming an instrument for war. That resolution should not be interpreted beyond the objective of preserving the sovereign unity and territorial integrity of Libya. We urge peace-loving countries in all regions of the world to stop the plans to invade Libya that were unashamedly announced by the Department of State and the Pentagon of the United States. The aim of such plans is clear — to appropriate the vast potential of natural resources and strategic and energy wealth of the motherland of Libya.
According to the Agence France Presse news agency, the Pentagon stated that “the United States army is repositioning military forces around Libya”. However, the Security Council resolution has not authorized military intervention. Nevertheless, an imperialist country is unilaterally and visibly deploying its military machinery to carry out armed aggression against Libya. In today’s edition, the Spanish newspaper El País states: “Obama proposes establishing a no-fly zone to the United Nations. The United States mobilizes naval forces towards Libya for a possible intervention.”
Venezuela calls for the rejection of that warmongering mobilization of the United States air and naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Those who promote the use of military force against Libya seek not to defend human rights, but to establish a protectorate to violate them, as they have always done, in one of the largest sources of oil and energy in the Middle East region.
Secessionist maneuvers have a long history, and very recent experiences confirm that it is one of the tactics used by the imperialist Powers, inciting divisions on ethnic, religious or any grounds and the fragmentation of nations, which, in general, leads to fratricidal wars that tend to be used in order to justify foreign invasion.
We are convinced that the Libyan, Arab, African and all peace-loving peoples in all corners of the world will reject the military occupation of Libya. We reiterate our condemnation of violence, imperialism and interventionism. We urge the countries represented here to help preserve the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya. We deplore the double standard applied to human rights by imperialist countries.
The death of one human being is painful. The deaths of hundreds of people in Libya are painful. Also painful are the deaths of thousands of human beings who endure imperialist military invasions. We hail the Arab peoples who are in the process of a peaceful and justified rebellion and who seek a better future on the path of peace.
It is time for diplomacy for peace, not war. It is time for dialogue, not violence. The United Nations
exists to promote peace and understanding, not to promote the logic of war. We must not permit the dynamics of death and the logic of annihilation to develop in Libya and to prevail among brothers and sisters of the same nation.
President Hugo Chávez Frías yesterday proposed the establishment of a goodwill international commission to seek peace in Libya. It is necessary to promote immediately a dialogue between the Government of Muammar Al-Qadhafi and the opposition forces in order to achieve understanding and reconciliation for the Libyan people.
The President (spoke in French): The 10 minutes allotted to statements in explanation of vote have elapsed and I would ask the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to conclude.
Mr. Valero Briceño (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) (spoke in Spanish): We implore almighty God to ensure that the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Union of South American Nations will urgently devote themselves to work for peace in that country.
Allow me to conclude by asking: Who will pay for the more than 1 million deaths in Iraq? Who will pay for the ongoing massacre against the Palestinian people? Why have confessed authors of such war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity not stood before the International Criminal Court? What action has the Security Council taken with respect to these horrendous massacres, which continue with impunity?
Finally, we wish to state for the record that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has reservations with respect to the contents of paragraph 1 of resolution 65/265, which was just adopted by this General Assembly and pursuant to which it decides to suspend the membership rights of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the Human Rights Council. Such a decision may take place only following an objective and credible investigation to confirm the veracity of events. No country can be condemned a priori. We consider this decision to be precipitous, as it was taken without awaiting the results of the investigation to be carried out by the independent international commission of inquiry designated by the Human Rights Council pursuant to its resolution S-15/1 of 25 February.
Mr. Núñez Mosquera (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish): Cuba fully shares the international concern over the deaths of civilians in Libya and stands in support of a peaceful and sovereign solution of the conflict by the Libyan people, without foreign interference or intervention. We follow with concern the repeated statements of United States and European Union officials alluding to the fact that they are considering military options in Libya, and reports in the press of the movement of troops and military assets towards the area. Cuba categorically opposes any military intervention in that country, which would lead to thousands of deaths and have very serious consequences for the world economy.
On 25 February, in Geneva, the Cuban delegation dissociated itself from operative paragraph 14 of resolution S-15/1, on the human rights situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which was adopted at the special session convened by the Human Rights Council on the subject of that country. As the Cuban representative said in his statement at that time, the content of that paragraph sets a dangerous precedent for cooperation in the area of human rights, which the Council must uphold through its work.
From the outset, when we were building the new Council, Cuba opposed the clause on the suspension of membership of a given State. We had hoped to have a body that would be free from the double standards and politicization that discredited the former Commission on Human Rights. The inclusion of this clause in resolution 60/251 set a negative precedent in saddling the new Council with an additional burden that is without parallel in any other United Nations body.
Further, the manipulation of the language of paragraph 8 of resolution 60/251 is a serious challenge to the principle of the sovereign equality of States. It endorses membership in the Council of all States Members of the United Nations, but at the same time establishes prerequisites for joining the body and imposes the possibility of expulsion without setting a minimum limit of required votes. In other words, a country elected with the support of the majority of members of the General Assembly can have its rights suspended by the will of a minority or even a small number of countries, since the suspension clause can be triggered with the support of two thirds of those present and voting, which could be a tiny minority of Member States.
Fortunately, that clause has never been invoked until today. Its use on this occasion opens the door for those wishing to legitimize that mechanism with a view to using it selectively against those countries that reject imposition and foreign interference. It is not by chance that the most enthusiastic promoters of implementing that clause are those developed countries with a long- standing tendency to accuse States of the South while remaining silently complicit on human rights violations in the North. We cannot fail to note the attitude of the country that voted against resolution 60/251, whereas now it is the first to promote the use of one of the most negative attributes of a text that it rejected at the time.
We will see if the General Assembly is capable of deciding on the suspension of a powerful State, responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens in its conquering ventures and for the disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution of human beings confined in secret concentration camps.
Mr. Meron Reuben (Israel): Israel fully supports resolution 65/265 and Libya’s suspension from membership in the Human Rights Council, which was long overdue.
For years, we have been calling attention to the dire and alarming human rights situation in our region. The Libyan situation is a representative case in point. It is regrettable that such tragedies are addressed only when crises and murderous crimes unfold, such as in this case, despite the fact that such systematic and long-standing abhorrent human rights violations have been well documented throughout the years.
Under its current notorious regime, Libya should never have been elected to sit as a member of the Human Rights Council. The international community’s response to this appalling human rights crisis should serve as a wake-up call as we also deliberate the future of the Council and its membership.
Ms. Susan Rice (United States of America): For the first time ever, the General Assembly has suspended a member of the Human Rights Council. This is a harsh rebuke, but one that Libya’s leaders have brought down upon themselves. The United States continues to be appalled by the situation in Libya, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Libyans who have been killed.
The General Assembly has come together to speak with one voice to Libya’s unrepentant rulers. This unprecedented action sends another clear warning to Mr. Al-Qadhafi and those who still stand by him. They must stop the killing. When the only way a leader can cling to power is by grossly and systematically violating his own people’s human rights, he has lost any legitimacy to rule. He must go and he must go now.
The protests in Libya are being driven by the people of Libya. This is about the universal human rights of the Libyan people and all people, and about a regime that has failed to meet its responsibility to protect its own population. The United States was pleased to be a co-sponsor of resolution 65/265, along with partners from all regions of the world, which underscores the universality of this decision and the depth of our commitment to the human rights we all share.
I must add that the United States utterly rejects the wilful and ugly distortion by the Venezuelan delegation of United States policy and posture. At a time when this Assembly is acting in unison in support of the Libyan people, it is shameful that one Member State, whose own reprehensible record speaks for itself, would manipulate this occasion to spread lies, foster fear and sow hate.
The General Assembly today has, by contrast, acted in the noblest traditions of the United Nations and made it clear that Governments that turn their guns on their own people have no place on the Human Rights Council. Membership on the Human Rights Council should be earned through respect for human rights and not accorded to those who abuse them. We hope that we can work together to build on today’s united, bold and principled action to defend universal human rights across the United Nations system. We applaud the members of the General Assembly for taking this historic decision.