UN Chief Alarmed over Libya Civilian Casualties

August 12th, 2011 - by admin

Reuters & Anti-War.com – 2011-08-12 01:19:48


UN Chief Alarmed over Libya Civilian Casualties

UNITED NATIONS (August 11, 2011) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced alarm on Thursday over recent reports of civilians killed in Libya’s civil war and called on all sides to do as much as possible to avoid killing innocent people.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by reports of the unacceptably large number of civilian casualties as a result of the conflict in Libya,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General calls on all parties to exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimize any further loss of civilian life,” the statement said.

Earlier, the UN said Ban had spoken with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi on Wednesday, expressing his concerns about civilian casualties and the “absolute lack of progress in the efforts to find a politically negotiated solution to the crisis in Libya.”

In his latest statement, Ban said “there can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis.” He called on both sides to respond to ideas for a settlement put to them by his envoy for Libya, Abdel Elah al-Khatib.

Earlier this week, Russia, India, Brazil and other UN Security Council delegations voiced concerns about NATO strikes on Libyan state television last month and other attacks that have allegedly killed civilians.

Irina Bokova, head of the UN cultural agency UNESCO, sharply rebuked NATO on Monday for the attack on Libyan television, which she said killed several people and wounded nearly a dozen.

“I deplore the NATO strike on Al-Jamahiriya and its installations,” Bokova said in a statement. “Media outlets should not be targeted in military actions.”

NATO said last month it had bombed three ground-based satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli to silence “terror broadcasts” on state television by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the uprising against his rule.

NATO defended the strikes and said it had no evidence anyone had been killed as a result of them. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Todd Eastham)

Gadhafi Officials: NATO Bombs Kill 85 Civilians
NATO Says Attack Was on ‘Military Staging Area’

Jeremy Sapienza / AntiWar.com

(August 9, 2011) — In what could be the single deadliest NATO attack since the Western war on Libya’s Gadhafi regime began in May, 85 civilians were killed in a cluster of farmhouses in Majar, according to Libyan officials. The village is about 90 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. A Gadhafi spokesman said 33 children, 32 women, and 20 men were killed in the attack.

NATO says its planes bombed a “military staging area,” and if there were any casualties, they are likely military personnel or “mercenaries.” Colonel Roland Lavoie, the alliance’s spokesperson in Brussels, said the strikes aim to protect Libya’s civilians from attack by Gadhafi’s forces. The Gadhafi regime denies attacking civilians, though during the initial uprising it undeniably did kill many protesting civilians.

A Reuters reporter saw 30 bodies at a hospital in nearby Zlitan, some of which contained the remains of children. “They (NATO) do not differentiate between soldiers, children and old people,” said medical student Abdulkader Al-Hawali, in residency at the hospital.

NATO has admitted to killing civilians in the recent past. Just last week, in Zlitan, NATO bombs killed a physics teacher and his family. Some two weeks ago, NATO bombed a Zlitan hospital, killing seven. And on June 21, just two days after admitting to killing nine civilians in an “accidental” strike in central Tripoli, NATO denied and then admitted an attack that Gadhafi officials say killed 15 civilians.

NATO also bombed a Libyan frigate in Tripoli harbor this morning after weapons were observed being unloaded, the alliance said.

Amnesty Urges NATO to Investigate Civilian Killings in Libya
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(August 10, 2011) — In a statement issued today, Amnesty International urged NATO to conduct a full investigation of a recent attack near Zlitan, which the Libyan government reported killed 85 civilians. NATO denied seeing any evidence of civilian casualties.

But did it look? Its not clear. Officials reported the attack yesterday and independent journalists confirmed seeing large numbers of dead civilian bodies in the morgue, including a number of civilians. NATO shrugged off the entire report, insisting anyone who was killed must’ve been a “mercenary.”

The blase attitude about civilian deaths has typified NATO’s campaign in Libya, where a number of seemingly very credible reports of air strikes killing civilians or hitting populated areas always being dismissed out of hand, with the offiical slogan that NATO “isn’t targeting civilian populations.”

It isn’t convincing many people though, and Amnesty is just the latest to call NATO out for it. Today they added that “NATO continues to stress its commitment to protect civilians. To that effect it should thoroughly investigate this and all other recent incidents in which civilians were reportedly killed.” That seems to be the last thing NATO wants to do, however. With the war’s unpopularity already on the rise confirming those killings will only embarrass them further.

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