We Condemn the Killing of Innocents, But We Cannot Accept Intervention in Libya

Statement of Ambassador Rodolfo Reyes, Permanent Representative, before the Human Rights Council on the Situation in Libya, Geneva, 25 February 2011

Mr. President:

Less than 72 hours ago, Cuba, through its Foreign Minister, communicated the following in Brussels:

“We are following with utmost attention the current events in the internal affairs of Libya and their international repercussions.  A lot of news reports, which are often contradictory, are being disseminated.  Some US politicians and news media are inciting violence, military aggression, and foreign intervention.  The temperatures are high everywhere, which I fear may lead to grave domestic and international errors.

We hope that the Libyan people will be able to soon arrive at a peaceful and sovereign solution to the situation created there, without any kind of foreign interference or intervention, a solution that would guarantee the integrity of the Libyan nation.”

The situation continues to be confusing and rapidly evolving.  Information emerges in fragments, in many cases reports diverge, and it is even possible to detect an effort to use fragmentary and contradictory information with the intention of causing further destabilization, which can result in much damage and many losses of lives.

Our concerns reflected in the above statement have regrettably become reality, and Libya is already embroiled in a civil war, in a context of a global economic crisis of major proportions which has plunged the peoples of North Africa and the rest of the world in the state of despair.

All of us are concerned about the losses of human lives and injuries suffered by the civilian population, inflicted by the conflict that is unfolding in Libya today.  No one with integrity can accept the killing of innocent civilians, which we condemn categorically anywhere it happens.  In this regard we entirely share the world opinion.

However, we cannot accept the risk that this tragic situation may be exploited opportunistically to satisfy the interventionist appetites, to rob the Libyan people of their sovereignty, and to seize their resources.  Already there is talk of a humanitarian military intervention, which we oppose, because, instead of solving the problem, it will complicate it much more and can have other serious implications.  From the beginning, Cuba has denounced the plans to occupy Libya and categorically rejects any maneuver to promote such ideas.  It is certain that the Libyan people are opposed to any foreign military intervention.

Mr. President:

It is our duty to speak out against certain elements of the resolution adopted which constitute a terrible precedent for cooperation on human rights which must be maintained in the work of this Council.

From the beginning, when we were still building this new Council, Cuba opposed the clause about suspension of membership of a State.  Its inclusion in Resolution 60/251 set a negative precedent, which burdened the nascent organ with an additive which has no parallel in any other organ of the United Nations.  Fortunately, it has never been invoked till today, but its use in this case will open the doors to those who seek to legitimate this mechanism with the goal of using it selectively against those countries that disagree with its standards.

Cuba, consequently, disassociates itself from Operative Paragraph 14 of the revised text of the resolution adopted.

To conclude, Mr. President, Cuba wishes to issue a call for calm and to reiterate its confidence in the capacity of the Libyan people to resolve their internal problems without any foreign interference and to preserve the peace, stability, and sovereignty of their country.

Thank you very much.

The original statement “Rechazamos la muerte de inocentes, pero es inaceptable el intervencionismo en Libia” was published by CubaDebate on 25 February 2011.  See, also, “Human Rights Council Debates Situation of Human Rights in Libya” (HRC Media, 25 February 2011).  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).

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