GENEVA, November 9, 2010 – Victims of Libyan torture and terrorism said today that the Qaddafi regime’s report to a U.N. Human Rights Council panel is a whitewash of its abuses, and that the country should be removed from the council.
“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.
UN Watch heads an international NGO coalition of more than 30 groups campaigning to remove Libya from the council. In the last session of the Human Rights Council, UN Watch organized the testimony of four well-known victims of Libyan abuses.
Bob Monetti, whose 20-year-old son Rick was killed on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland: “Allowing Libya to be involved in the UN Human Rights Council in any way is a travesty. Libya is a dictatorship which doesn’t protect its citizens’ human rights and flagrantly murders citizens of other countries. I guess a Libya government official would be able to recognize a human rights abuse – but he’d just think of it as business as usual. Ali Mohamed Megrahi was one of the people who planted the bomb on Pan Am 103. He was a high-ranking member o Libyan intelligence. Why ever would the UN let Qaddafi judge other countries’ human rights records?”
Kristyana Valcheva, one of the five Bulgarian nurses who in 1998 were imprisoned and tortured on trumped-up charges of poisoning children with HIV: “I and five others were abducted on false charges, imprisoned and brutally tortured. They undressed me totally naked, and tied me to a metal bed. And then the worst started—inquisition by electrical shock. They tried to destroy us physically, mentally and morally. We were hostages for eight and a half years. We have never received an apology or compensation for our suffering.”
Ashraf El-Hajouj, the Palestinian doctor who was victimized together with the Bulgarian nurses: “Libya violated all of my human rights. We were detained under inhumane conditions for an extensive period of time. We were subjected to regular physical, mental, sexual and psychological torture. How can Libya be elected a member of the Human Rights Council?”
Mohammed Elijahmi, speaking of his late brother Fathi, the world-famous dissident: “My brother Fathi Eljahmi was subjected to five years of intense torture and isolation, leading to his death on May 21, 2009. My family asks: When will the Human Rights Council establish an international investigation into my brother’s imprisonment, torture and death? Why is the government of Mr. Qadhafi, which tortured and killed my brother—and which is one of the world’s worst violators of human rights—now an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council? When will the Council do the right thing, and stand with the Libyan people, to defend their human rights?”