A London-based writer, broadcaster and journalist, Stefan Simanowitz writes for publications in the UK and around the world including the: Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, Washington Times, Global Post, Huffington Post, New Statesman, In These Times, New Internationalist, Prospect, Lancet, Salon.com, Contemporary Review, Mail & Guardian.

He has a background in policy, political strategy and international human rights law and has worked for the European Commission, Liberty and the ANC during South Africa’s first democratic election campaign. He has reported from mass graves in Somaliland and Indonesia, prisons in Cameroon and South Africa, refugee camps in the Sahara desert and he writes on all aspects of global politics. He also has an interest in culture and travel, writing reviews on music, literature, film and theatre and taking photographs to accompany his reviews and reportage.

Website
Twitter @StefSimanowitz



The Other Afrik - International - Libya - Conflicts - Diplomacy
Contingency plans to protect civilians in Libya
In two, coordinated initiatives a coalition of over 200 Arab organisations and a group of over thirty prominent intellectuals from across the Middle East and North African have called today on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and the League of Arab States (LAS) to put in place contingency plans to protect civilians from further atrocities in Libya.

The coordinated initiative comes alongside pivotal international meetings – such as at the UN Security Council and NATO – where world leaders are weighing up possible policy options for Libya.

A coalition of more than (200) organisations from 18 countries across the Arab world today sent a letter to world leaders [full text below] condemning the lack of preventative measures adopted to protect civilians so far. The coalition, including groups from Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Algeria and Saudi Arabia, warns that “we fear we may be witnessing the calm before the storm. The window of opportunity to prevent further atrocities from occurring is closing fast. The people of Libya need you to act quickly and decisively.”

In a separate, coordinated initiative, a group of over thirty prominent Arab intellectuals, writers and former politicians today published a statement [full text below] adding their personal support to calls for further action.

The group includes Ahdaf Soweif, the famous Egyptian novelist; Hani Shukrallah of Al Ahram; Omar Al Qattan, Palestinian filmmaker & philanthropist; Laila Sharaf, a Jordanian Senator; Nagib Sawiris of Orascom Telecom and Paul Salem of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Lebanon. They warn: “We cannot and will not stand by and witness a brutal dictator exterminate his own people. Your words alone will not stop Gaddafi committing war crimes against civilians. Your expressions of disgust will not stop him contracting mercenaries to kill and maim those brave enough to challenge his tyranny ... We believe it is the personal and moral responsibility of each and every one of you to ensure immediate action is taken to stop the bloodshed in line with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.”

The groups both back calls for the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the African Union and the EU to:

- * Agree immediate contingency plans for international intervention, under regional Arab leadership, to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.

- * Ensure accountability and justice for the victims of the attacks since the 17th of Feb 2011 by supporting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for an independent investigation into the use of systematic violence against civilians.

- * Ensure an asset freeze on Gaddafi, his family and his generals and impose immediate targeted sanctions on the regime.

- * Impose an immediate arms embargo.

“We appeal to you as leaders who have the power to bring an end to this horror. Your failure to do so would be a lasting stain on the responsibilities of world leadership and on humanity itself,” reads the statement from prominent intellectuals.

“The international community is finally heading in the right direction but needs to go much further much faster. Targeted sanctions are needed as part of a package alongside stronger measures that could provide real protection to civilians right now. Stopping Gadaffi and his family shopping in Harrods or on the Champs Élysées is not going to prevent him unleashing further bloodshed. It’s time to stop fiddling about and get serious,” said Hani Shukrallah one of the prominent individuals to sign the statement.

“Words of condemnation will do nothing to stop Gadaffi from committing further barbaric atrocities to enable him to cling to power. The UN, the EU, the Arab League must demonstrate that there are deterrents they are prepared to use to stop any further slaughter of innocent civilians” – said Haggag Nayel, CEO The Arab Programme for Human Rights Activists (APHRA)

1. PUBLIC STATEMENT BY PROMINENT ARAB INDIVIDUALS

CONDEMNATION IS NOT ENOUGH!

To Heads of State of Members of the United Nations Security Council, European Union, African Union and League of Arab States,

We, experts, intellectuals and citizens from the Arab world, write to call on you to turn hollow condemnation into real action that can protect the people of Libya from further slaughter.

We cannot and will not stand by and witness a brutal dictator exterminate his own people. Your words alone will not stop Gaddafi committing war crimes against civilians. Your expressions of disgust will not stop him contracting mercenaries to kill and maim those brave enough to challenge his tyranny. We appeal to you as leaders who have the power to bring an end to this horror. Your failure to do so would be a lasting stain on the concept of the responsibility of world leadership and on humanity itself.

The Libyan people are living through a defining moment in their history. Their demands for basic human rights and an end to 42 years of cruel oppression are legitimate. We shall not stand silent and watch them pay the price of this demand with their blood. Without urgent action from the UN Security Council supported by the EU, African Union and Arab League, the window of opportunity to protect civilians from the threat of further atrocities will close.

We believe it is the personal and moral responsibility of each and every one of you to ensure immediate action is taken to stop the bloodshed in line with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

The Libyan people have had the courage to defy a dictator and face down his barbarism and brutality. Now their blood fills the streets of Benghazi, Beida and Tripoli and many other cities. This is partly the result of the absence of effective international pressure to rein in a killer who does not balk at using lethal force against his own people.

We urge the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the African Union and the European Union to protect civilians in Libya NOW. We urge leaders to live up to their obligations and expedite the following actions immediately:

- * Agree immediate contingency plans for international intervention, under Arab regional leadership, to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.

- * Ensure accountability and justice for the victims of the attacks since the 17th of Feb 2011 by supporting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for an independent investigation into the use of systematic violence against civilians.

- * Ensure an asset freeze on Gaddafi, his family and his generals and impose immediate targeted sanctions on the regime.

- * Impose an immediate arms embargo.

Only action of this kind can help protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians currently at risk. Gaddafi and his henchmen will not flinch at your condemnation. Instead, they blackmail you into paralysis by threatening to withhold lucrative trade or open the floodgates of immigration. Time is running out. We urge you to demonstrate courageous and decisive leadership to avert what could be one of the worst atrocities of our time.

Sincerely,

1. Nabil El Arabi – Former Judge in the International Court of Justice - Egypt

2. Gamil Mattar – Writer - Egypt

3. Taher Kanaan – Former Minister of Planning and Development Affairs- Jordan

4. Laila Sharaf – First Lady Senator - Jordan

5. Moataz Abdel Fattah – Professor of Political Science University of Michigan - USA

6. Gennaro Gervasio – Professor of Political Science, University of Sydney - Australia

7. Bassma Kodmani - Executive director, Arab Reform Initiative - France

8. Chérif Ferjani - Director, Group of Research and Studies on Mediterranean and Middle East (GREMMO) at la Maison de l’Orient Méditerranéen, CNRS-Université Lyon2 (National Center for Scientific Research)

9. Hani Shukrallah – Journalist - Egypt

10. Barah Mikail - Research Director, FRIDE (Fundacion para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dialogo Exterior) - Spain

11. Larbi Chouikha – Academic - Tunisia

12. Charif RIFAI – Architect - France

13. Yassin Swehat – blogger - Syria

14. Paul Salem - Director, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut - Lebanon

15. Salam Kawakibi - Senior researcher - Arab Reform Initiative

16. Nahla Chahal - political sociologist - Syria

17. Ibrahim Al Ariss - Historian and Journalist - Lebanon

18. Alaa Abdel Aziz – Academic - Egypt

19. Mohamed Ali Farhat - Poet and Journalist - Lebanon

20. Vicky Habib - journalist and film critic - Lebanon

21. Saad Mehio – Writer - Lebanon

22. Ahdaf Soweif – Novelist and Writer - Egypt

23. Bahgat Korani – Academic - Egypt

24. Abdel Rahman Ayyas – journalist - Lebanon

25. Ali El Ghatit - International Attorney of Law - Egypt

26. Ali Fakhro - Former Minister of Culture - Bahrain

27. Fouad Riad - Former Judge in the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia - Egypt

28. Nagib Sawiris – Egyptian Prominent Business and President of Orascom Telecom - Egypt.

29. Dr. Gala Amin – Egyptian Scholar - Egypt

30. Ms Hala Alabdalla, Syrian filmmaker – France

31. Dr. Amr Hamzawy , Research Director and Senior Associate - Carnegie Middle East Center

32. Omar Al Qattan, Filmmaker & Philanthropist – Palestine.

33. Hisham Mattar, Libyan Novelist Author

34. Basma Al Husseiny , Managing Director – AL Mawred AL Thaqafi

35. Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Former Ambassador of LAS to the UN.

2. OPEN LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS BY ARAB NGOS

Open Letter by Arab Organisations to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS)

As leaders of over a (200) organisations across the Middle East and North Africa, we urge the United Nations Security Council and the EU to take immediate action in response to the violent repression of demonstrations and the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Libya. The international community must not be passive bystanders to such brutality. Words of outrage are not enough; they will do nothing to protect civilians in the face of such slaughter.

We fear we may be witnessing the calm before the storm. The window of opportunity to prevent further atrocities from occurring is closing fast. The people of Libya need you to act quickly and decisively.

Since 17th February 2011, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Libya have been killed, arrested and detained at the orders of Gadaffi. Reports of the use of lethal force and military artillery against civilians demand immediate investigation by a UN mandated team on the ground.

Condemnation of such acts is not enough - world leaders must live up to their responsibilities to protect civilians from systematic slaughter.

We call on you to agree contingency plans for international intervention in line with Chapter VII of the UN charter, and under Arab regional leadership to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.

The coalition also urges the UN Security Council, the European Union and League of Arab States to call for and support the expedition of the following actions immediately to protect civilians in Libya:

* Implement an immediate freeze on the assets of Gaddafi and his generals and subject them to a travel ban

* Impose an embargo on all exports of arms and security equipment to Libya;

* Call for and support an immediate UN investigation mission to Libya to identify the exact nature of events and the scale of the crimes committed since February 17th.

Time is running out. The bloodshed cannot continue. The people of Libya need you to act quickly and decisively. As civil society leaders from the region, we implore you not to desert them and to demonstrate that you are prepared to take the meaningful action required to back up your words of condemnation.

Signatories:

Algeria: The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, the Algerian Coordination Organisation for the Families of the Missing. Bahrain: Al Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahraini Association for Human Rights, Association of Bahraini Youth for Human Rights- Bahrain. Iraq: The Iraqi Human Rights Association in Denmark, Iraqi Network for Human Rights. Egypt: Arab Programme for Human Rights Activists (APHR), Arab Organization for Civil Society and Human Rights Support, Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Civil Observatory for Human Rights, Citizenship Human Rights Organisation, Shomoaa for the Care of Humanitarian Rights, Egyptian Organisation for Scientific and Technological Development, Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights, The Arab Network for Human Rights Information-Egypt, The Arab Centre for Development and Human Rights, South Centre for Human Rights

Arab Network for Crisis Reporting, Centre for the Study of Alternative Development, Taha Hussein Foundation for Civic Education, Egyptian Centre for Human Development, Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights, Al-Badr Foundation for Social Development and Peace, Maan Foundation, Arab Centre for Legal and Judicial Independence, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Ani for Development and Human Rights, Al Nadim Center for Treatment and Psychological Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence, Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression, Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, Egyptian Centre for Property Rights, One World Centre for Development and Protection of Human Rights, Human Rights Association for Protection of Prisoners, Centre for Legal Study and Information for Human Rights, Centre for Human Rights and Fighting Landmines, National Association for the Defence of Rights and Liberties, Arab Legal Desk- Egypt, Group for Human Rights Legal Aid, Supporters of Justice for Human Rights Association, Egyptian Womens’ Issues, Al-Safwa Centre for Human Rights in Mansoura, Rifa’a Al-Tahtawi Forum, Human Development Centre, Al-Haqq Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Al Shihab Foundation for Complete Development, Al- Kilma Centre for Human Rights, Egyptian Association for Economic and Social Rights, Habi Centre for Environmental Rights, Egyptian Association for Civic Education and Human Rights, Egyptian Civil Group, Women’s Group for Human Rights, Equality Center for Human Rights (Port Said), Egyptian Center for Rights of the Child, Egyptian Foundation for Family Development, The Egyptian Centre for Defence and Legal Protection, Solidarity Association for Development and Human Rights, Foundation for Human Rights Training and Sustainable Development (Equity), Madar Foundation for Development and Environmental Protection, Dawn Centre for Human Rights Advocacy, Him and Her Development Foundation, Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights, Egyptian Association against Medical Negligence and Human Rights, Civil Coalition for Democratic Reform, Jordan: Observatory Centre for Environment and Human Rights, Equality Centre for Democratic Studies and Research, Cooperation Centre for Civil Society Organisations. Kuwait: The Kuwaiti Association for Human Rights. Lebanon: The Lebanese Association for Transparency , (PPM) Permanent Peace Movement (includes 20 organizations), Social Developmental Initiative- Volunteers without Boundaries, Development for People and Nature Association- Lebanon, Lebanese Labour Watch- Lebanon, Common Effort- Lebanon, Cultural Tyre Forum, Civil Society Forum , Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict, Arab Network for Tolerance, Peace Building Academy, The Arab Human Rights Fund. Libya: The Arab Libyan Association for Human Rights, Secretary General of the Association for Human Rights.

Mauritania: National Committee for Human Rights , Network for Protection of Democracy, Mauritanian Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (AMAPROD) , Northern League for Democracy, Development and Human Rights , Women Democratic Society, The Arab Organisation for Human Rights – Mauritania .Morocco: Moroccan Bada’il Forum, The Democratic Centre for Work, National Organisation for Suspended Certificates Campaign, Badai’l Forum- Gosoor Site- Development Organisation, Future Youth Union, Centre for Education on Human Rights, Nabras Youth Site, People’s Rights Centre- Morocco, Leid Foundation, Moroccan Organisation for Human Rights.

Palesitine: Al Dameer Organisation for the Political Prisoners Welfar, The Palestinian Society for Human Rights, The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Media- Palestinian Human Rights Organization. Qatar: National Council for Human Rights. Saudi Arabia: Human Rights First Society(HRFS). Sudan: Al Kahtim Centre for Enlightenment & Human Development (KACE), Sudanese Children Society, Sudan Development Association SDA , Civil and Human Rights Centre, Darfur Democratic Forum, Al-Amal Rehabilitation Centre, Subat Centre for Peace and Capacity Building, Union Solidarity, Centre for Human Development Studies, Global Centre for the Culture of Peace, African Centre for Human Rights, Darfur Lawyers Association, Darfur Centre for Consolidation of Peace, Darfur Journalists and Media Network, Secretary General of Dwana Organization for Human Development, Community Development Association CDA, Niswa Organisation for Cultural and Social Development, Sarah Al Fadil Centre for Peace and Development, Arab Cultural Centre, Journalists for Human Rights – JHR. Syria: National Organization for Human Rights, Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies, Committees for the Defence of Democracy Freedom and Human Rights Kurdish Committee for Human Rights, The Arab Organization for Human Rights, Kurdish organization for the defence of human rights and public freedoms in Syria–DAD, Human Rights Organization in Syria – MAF Tunisia: The Tunisian Observatory for Union Rights and Freedoms, The National Council for Liberties, Committee for the Respect of Liberties and Human Rights in Tunisia, Observatory for Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation. UAE: The Emirates Association for Human Rights. Yemen: Democratic Social Forum , Sisterhood Forum for Human Rights , The Information and Rehabilitation Centre for Human Rights, Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, Yemeni Organisation for the Defence of Rights and Democratic Freedoms, Yemeni Broadcasters Forum, Foundation for Local Community Development, Political Development Forum, National Association for the Defence of Freedoms, The Democratic School, National Centre for Community Development, Yemeni Doctors and Pharmacists Syndicate, Educational Syndicate, Partners for the Future Association. Regional Coalitions: Non Violence Network in the Arab Countries (20 organisations), MENA Coalition to stop use of Child Soldiers (20 organisations)

MENA Action Network on Small Arms (10 organisations)

Europe: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and the Arab Reform Initiative (France)

Total Number of organisations (accounting for coalitions): 219


Unauthorized republication of this article without the express permission of Afrik-news.com or Afrik.com is prohibited. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Afrik-news.com or Afrik.com.

International

your opinion
your opinion

Be the first giving your opinion



 
from the same author

columnists



the other

search
 

newsletter