Democracy and human rights advocates are calling for a NATO-supported no-flight zone over Libya and international support to the country’s nascent provisional government.
“The people of Libya have made themselves clear: it is time for Qadhafi to go – now, without further violence or delay,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“We all need to work together on further steps to hold the Qadhafi government accountable, provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and support the Libyan people as they pursue a transition to democracy,” she told the UN Human Rights Council today.
The US and the European Union are leading international efforts to pressure Muammar Qadhafi’s regime.
“The lesson of history is that when it comes to these kinds of crises there tends to be international disunity,” said a senior US administration official. “Here we have managed to have the most united front imaginable. But it is important that we move to the next stage.”
The UN Security Council took the unprecedented step of invoking the “responsibility to protect” doctrine at the weekend when it voted to impose an arms embargo on Libya and to apply targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against the regime’s elite. It also referred Libya to the International Criminal Court for investigation and potential prosecution for crimes against humanity.
The UN’s reference to the responsibility to protect “is the first time it has been explicitly invoked by the Security Council,” say Canadian MP Irwin Cotler and human rights lawyer Jared Genser. But the UN needs to do more, they write:
The Security Council should adopt a new resolution to immediately extend recognition to the nascent provisional government of the country, authorize a NATO-supported no-flight zone over Libya to preclude any bombing of civilians, and permit all U.N. members to provide direct support to the provisional government.
One of Qadhafi’s sons hinted that the regime was willing to negotiate with the opposition, and warned that the unrest would lead to civil war and Libya’s disintegration. “The unrest will break up the country just as in Afghanistan,” said Saif al-Islam Qadhafi.
But another brother, Saadi, seems to see the writing on the wall.
The unrest sweeping the Arab world is “an earthquake,” he told ABC News.
“It’s a fever,” he said. “It’s going to spread everywhere. No one can – will stop it.”