Ban: Libya a warning to authoritarians

2011-03-21 13:33
Cairo - The Libya war and revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia should be a warning to authoritarian leaders in the Middle East and North Africa still ordering forces to shoot demonstrators, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.

Ban, who has castigated the king of Bahrain and strongly condemned the repression of demonstrations in Yemen and Syria in recent days, told AFP as he began a trip to Egypt and Tunisia on Monday that other nations have a duty to speak out.

"It is clear that a wind of change is sweeping this region," he said in an interview.

"The international community, while we closely follow the situation, has a responsibility to help those people, so that leaders could hear clearly and sincerely the voices of the people, their aspirations."

Urging reforms


The UN secretary general said leaders in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria must have seen the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya where Muammar Gaddafi's brutal crackdown led to UN-sanctioned military strikes.

"We are living in an era of globalisation and communications, so they must have been following and they must have been listening to what the international community expects them to do," Ban said.

"I have been talking to all the leaders in the region, all the leaders without exception, every day, urging them to take bold reform measures that respect the will of their people and ensure freedom of speech."

In Syria, security forces have shot and killed several demonstrators in the southern town of Deraa. Ban last week called for "genuine reforms, not repression."

In the Yemeni capital Sana'a, more than 50 demonstrators have been killed.

Concerns

The UN chief condemned the government and on Sunday said he doubted that President Ali Abdullah Saleh's decision to sack the government would calm the population.

Ban spoke with the Bahrain's monarch, King Hamad, last week to highlight his "deepest concern over reports of excessive and indiscriminate use of force by security forces and police in Bahrain".

He warned that their actions could breach international humanitarian law.

The Arab League was instrumental in getting the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1973 last week which approved military action against Gaddafi.

Ban has called the resolution "historic" because it "affirms unequivocally, the international community's determination to fulfil its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own government".

Meetings

Leaders have a duty to maintain order, Ban told AFP. "But in doing that they must exercise maximum restraint and caution, fully respecting human rights. I will continue to speak out."

Ban is starting his tour with meetings with the Egyptian military and interim government on the dramatic changes since the fall in February of Hosni Mubarak.

He will hold similar meetings in Tunisia which set off the Arab revolution.

Egypt faced a new decisive moment with Saturday's referendum on a new constitution.

"Leaders have a responsibility to sincerely and authentically listen to the voices and aspirations of the people and take broad-based measures" with the opposition, civic groups, youth leaders "and particularly women leaders," Ban said.

'Fuller democracy'

"This is a quite historic moment; this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see the progress of democratisation, fuller democracy."

Ban said he would discuss possible UN assistance in electoral processes, constitution drafting, and social and economic development, during his stay in Cairo and Tunis.

He said he would also meet opposition leaders and civic groups. "Then I will try to say what I have heard, what I have seen, what I believe the United Nations can do."
Read more on:    un  |  king hamad  |  hosni mubarak  |  ali abdullah saleh  |  muammar gaddafi  |  ban ki-moon  |  libya  |  tunisia  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to be too fixed on a set way of doing things today. You may get challenged and the best approach is to keep an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.