7 March 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Concerned about Civilian Casualties in Libya, Secretary-General Urges End


to Disproportionate Use of Force, Safety for All Foreigners


The following statement was issued on 6 March by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the fighting in western Libya, which is claiming large numbers of lives and threatens even more carnage in the days ahead.  He notes that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the Government’s disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.  He stresses that those who violate international humanitarian law or commit grave crimes must be held accountable.

The Secretary-General spoke this morning with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa and strongly appealed for an end to the hostilities and for full compliance with Security Council resolution 1970 (2011).  He urged the authorities in Tripoli to respect the human rights of all the country’s people, and to lift restrictions on the media.

The Secretary-General discussed the increasingly troubling humanitarian situation, in particular the plight of migrant workers, and called on the authorities to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to people in need.  In this regard, he suggested the immediate dispatch of a humanitarian assessment team to Tripoli, a request that was agreed to by the Foreign Minister.

In his telephone conversation, the Secretary-General called on the authorities in Tripoli to uphold their responsibility to protect the country’s citizens and to heed the Libyan people’s legitimate aspirations to live in dignity and peace.  He urged the authorities to consider the best interests of the Libyan people and listen to the united voice of the international community.

The Secretary-General has appointed the former Foreign Minister of Jordan, Abdul Ilah Khatib, as his Special Envoy to Libya to undertake urgent consultations with the authorities in Tripoli and in the region on the immediate humanitarian situation, as well as the wider dimensions of the crisis.  Mr. Khatib will come to New York in the next few days before taking up his responsibilities in the region.

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For information media • not an official record