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In Libya as Civilians Are Shot with Anti-Aircraft Guns, UN Is Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 16 -- As civilians in Tripoli are fired on with anti-aircraft guns, killing more than 40 yesterday, where is the UN Security Council? Nowhere, apparently. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in Latvia and Estonia, has had nothing to say. Why is this?

Those who supported the NATO campaign on Libya and declared its aftermath a victory now don't want to acknowledge, much less try to address, what has happened since.

Friday at the UN, disgust was expressed to Inner City Press about the silence and why no UN Security Council meet had been scheduled or statement issued, as for example on Mali. Also why it was left to civilians to try to take on the militias. Others judged a Libyan leadership, diaspora-heavy and long of tooth, as being out of touch.

The bombing of Libya set "Responsibility to Protect" substantially back. Now with civilians being killed in the aftermath, where are the proponents of R2P? Even if the UN now belated speaks, the delay and its reasons are telling.

Where even is the UN's envoy Tarek Mitri? Back in June 2013, Libyan activists told Inner City Press about a May 20, 2013 meeting with Mitri at which he called the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) "nothing."

  They said the new agency UN Women promised to give them information how to reach UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and didn't, and did not attend a May 30 follow up meeting. Now the 35% quota for women is about to be eliminated. And where is the UN?

  On June 19 at UN Headquarters in New York, Inner City Press put these questions to Mitri, and then to Ban's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey.

  Mitri said it was up to the women to do more, including a "sit in" he said he encouraged them to hold. He admitted saying "wala’ishi" or "nothing" as to CEDAW, explaining that he meant that a Parliament could not be sued. Video here and embedded below.

  "I have spoken to the media on three occasions on this, the UN did everything it said it would," Mitri insisted. "They are nascent, sometimes they are able to act more decisively. It is easier for the UN to support Libyans rather than act on behalf of them."

 And now? Watch this site.


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