PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA, November 9, 2010 – The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a report on the United States’ record with 228 recommendations, while Libya was praised by many states during its own review this morning.

State department legal adviser Harold Koh told the council he would consider the genuine recommendations made by states during the Friday review session, but would not take seriously “political provocations.”

The council today also reviewed the record of Libya, with most states lavishing praise on the Qaddafi government. The statements included:

Syria: “Libya has a unique experience in democracy based on the people’s authority and the people’s conferences. This has allowed for the growth and development and promotion of human rights in full conformity with its commitments under international law and in full conformity with its cultural and religious specificities.”

Algeria: “We would like to wish a warm welcome to our brother from Libya and his delegation…the effort we have before shows us the incessant effort of Libya to protect human rights and reflects the commitment of the Libyan government to respect the decisions of the HRC as well as commitment to cooperate with the international community.”

North Korea: “The preparation of the national report involving all stakeholders is a demonstration of Libya’s strong commitment to the UPR practice.”

Iraq: “International conventions and instruments ratified by Libya take precedent over national laws.”

Tunisia: “At the outset, I should like to extend my congratulations to our fraternal country, Libya, as a member of the HRC…we welcome the extent of prosperity and development that has been achieved by Libya with its comprehensive development policy. Its Great Green charter, is a major achievement in that it enshrines fundamental freedoms and rights set out in international agreements.”

Cuba: “Libya is a country with rich culture and tradition. It has valuable natural resources and a hard working people. Despite this, its socio-economic development has been held back. First of all because of colonialism and subsequently because of an unfair economic order.”

Oman: “It is clear to us that the issue of development of human rights has become one of the priorities of the government. The situation of human rights is developing in terms of legal and constitutional safeguards as well as actual practice.”

Iran: “Libya has achieved significant progress in the promotion and protection of human rights at the national level, especially in areas such as human rights legislation.”

Burma: “My delegation commends the significant contribution the government of Libya has realized in particular its achievement of remarkable economic and social progress for the well being of its own people.”

Libya’s report to the council portrayed an idyllic country that respects all human rights. Today it said:

  • “The Revolution of 1 September placed human rights at the top of its priorities. The first statement of the Libya Revolution refers to the principle of equality, freedom, justice and the sovereignty of Libyan people. It also stipulates that no Libyan should be unjustly treated or wronged. They are all brothers.”
  • “Protection is also guaranteed not only for political rights, but also for economic, social and cultural rights.”
  • We believe we are on the right track. Our aim is to promote and protect human rights in Libya. And we have made great strides in this field.”
  • There is no difference between the government and the people. We have many independent newspapers which have criticized the administration. There are other private media that are allowed.  There is a draft of a law that will organize the press law, which has not yet been enacted.”
  • “Regarding this matter [amputation] these sanctions have not been applied in over 40 years except for two instances…as for the other forms of corporal punishment, they have not been applied and the penal code is under review.”

“Libya’s report seeks to cover up its well-documented practices of torture, violations of freedom of religion, attacks on migrants and refugees, oppression of journalists and opposition politicians, and the discrimination against women” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group.

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