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article imageOp-Ed: Human rights in post-Gaddafi Libya no longer on Western agenda

By Katerina Nikolas     Nov 7, 2011 in World
Tripoli - Western governments sent in NATO to either oust Col. Gaddafi, or to protect civilians, depending on how one interprets events. With Gaddafi in his grave though there is little interest in protecting civilians from the new breed of rebel vigilantes.
Amidst growing evidence of human rights abuses conducted by former NTC rebel fighters who now roam the country acting as vigilantes, Western governments concern over the safety of civilians appears to have waned. With Col. Gaddafi in his grave, the west apparently feels that the civilians that needed protecting from their dictator, are now to be left to the lawless devices of the rebels NATO supported.
Al Qaeda flags fly in Behghazi and women are to become an oppressed group under sharia law, but as long as Western interests are met, the governments that were so keen to oust Gaddafi have no care about the new régime they plan to deal with. This of course is hardly surprising as the West picks and chooses which governments with which it will deal, happily bowing down to the might of Saudi oil. The U.S. remains largely silent over the continued oppression of the opposition to the al-Khalifa régime in Bahrain.
RT cites an interesting statement by Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition who believes Libyan domestic policies will have no bearing on business as usual. He takes the example of Saudi Arabia, saying it is "a dictatorship and not a democratic state, yet America is a big ally and a big supporter of Saudi Arabia. That just shows that we really don’t care if we’re working with democracies or we’re working with dictatorships. What we care about is our interests in the region."Although several hundred pro-Gaddafi prisoners were released from prisons this weekend many blacks remain behind bars. Additionally the Libyan blacks from Tawergha are now displaced refugees living in fear. According to Libya 360 "there are about 27,000 Tawarghis scattered between Tripoli and Benghazi." They cannot return home due to the permanent threat from Misratans. Abdulkarim Rahman said “Not only do they call us Gaddafists, they hate us for the colour of our skin. All blacks in Libya are going through very hard times lately.” Hundreds of refugees walked to Tripoli to protest against the way they are treated. One woman told Libya 360 that women from the refugee camps have been abducted and raped by Misratans, who have also taken men away.There are more accounts of vigilantism towards Tawerghans here.
Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch says “There was a military action that caused this dramatic transition in Libya, [now] there is a responsibility to make sure the transition works. That means that the United Nations and governments that were active in the NATO campaign, Arab states, like Qatar, all of them have to be engaged in helping Libya.”(RT)However helping to protect Libyan civilians takes second place to Western companies helping themselves to the spoils that war inevitably brings.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Human Rights, Libya, postGaddafi, Tawerghan refugees, NTC fighters
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