High-Level Meeting on Libya
- Human Rights
- Protection of Civilians
Statement by Mr Michael Bliss, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations
Australia thanks the Secretary-General for convening this meeting and His Excellency Agila Saleh Essa, President of the House of Representatives of Libya, for his remarks.
Australia is alarmed at the sharp deterioration of the security situation in Libya over the recent months and the outbreaks of serious violence in Tripoli and Benghazi, with a heavy toll on civilians. We are also alarmed at the regional implications, and we have heard today the burdens neighbouring countries are experiencing as a result of this instability.
Libya is at a critical juncture. We call upon all parties in Libya to enter into an unconditional ceasefire as an essential first step to resolving the current crisis, consistent with the call contained in Security Council resolution 2174. The agreement between the House of Representatives and other Libyan parties to hold a dialogue on 29 September is a positive first step towards achieving this.
The House of Representatives provides Libya's best opportunity to continue its political transition to democracy by supporting dialogue and reconciliation between the country's diverse groups. Its legitimacy must be respected. It is essential that all members of the House work together to overcome divisions and demonstrate their willingness to represent all Libyans fairly.
The fact that the Constitutional Drafting Assembly is still able to work in such difficult circumstances is evidence of its commitment to the democratic transition in Libya. It deserves support.
Australia fully supports the strong consensus expressed today that the international community must work together to help Libya continue on its path towards democracy. Of course, responsibility for the success of this process ultimately lies with Libya, but this will require support and constructive engagement by its partners and neighbours.
We commend you, SRSG Leon, on your efforts to bring all parties in Libya together to reach agreement on the way ahead. The UN Support Mission in Libya has a key role, including through its technical support to the drafters of Libya's constitution. Working with Libya's government, UNSMIL is also playing a vital role in efforts to protect and promote the human rights of Libya's people.
The international community must impose a cost on those who seek to undermine Libya's political transition. As a Security Council member, we strongly supported the adoption last month of Resolution 2174, which tightened sanctions against those who seek to undermine Libya's security and stability and those who commit violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and strengthened the arms embargo. The leverage the strengthened sanctions regime provides should be used.
Prospects for stability and sustainable peace will not be realised while the human rights and humanitarian situations remains grave.
Recent reports of indiscriminate attacks on civilians, abductions, unlawful killings and the long term detention of thousands without judicial process demonstrate a disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law. The protection of civilians must be a priority. Those responsible for serious international crimes must be held to account, whether through national or international processes. This will be crucial to long term stability.
The humanitarian impact of Libya's recent instability on civilians has been dire. More than 300, 000 people have been displaced as a result of violence. All parties need to work together to ensure humanitarian access and support is provided.
As a Security Council member, Australia will continue to engage closely on the situation in Libya, and encourage the Council to do everything it can to assist Libya on its path to stability and inclusive democracy.