Recent Libya fighting unprecedented in gravity warns outgoing UN envoy

In his final address as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Tarek Mitri said that the Libyan people bear the brunt of the conflict. The number of people displaced is estimated to be over 100,000, with at least another 150,000 seeking refuge abroad. “There is a general deterioration of living conditions [in Libya]. Food, fuel, water and electricity are in short supply. The departure of foreign medical staff and shortages in medical supplies has rendered the plight of civilians more critical,” said Mr. Mitri. The use by all sides of heavy weapons in densely populated areas has spread terror and contributed to a rising toll of innocent lives lost, including children. In addition, Mr. Mitri said there has been a rise in kidnappings, burning houses, looting and other acts of revenge. While UNSMIL had evacuated its international staff due to the escalating conflict, it remains engaged. On 7 August, a delegation travelled to Tripoli to meet with a range of political and military actors to explore options for an unconditional ceasefire. Despite many efforts made at the inaugural session of the newly elected House of Representatives in Tobruk, parties failed to arrive at an agreement over procedural and related issues to ensure full participation of all elected members. A number of representatives decided to boycott the sessions. Mr. Mitri reaffirmed that every effort must be made to enable parliamentarians, who boycott the House of Representatives, to join their colleagues. “We need to remind Libyan political leaders and brigade commanders that dialogue remains the only alternative to a prolonged armed confrontation,” Mr. Mitri emphasized, reiterating that “no military solution is possible” and that the present impasse will only deepen by the use of force.The Mission, he said, must contribute in more effectively protecting the civilian population and institution building. He also urged the Libyan General Prosecutor to initiate impartial investigations into crimes committed during recent fighting in Tripoli. The threat of derailing the democratic transition initiated by the revolution is mounting, the envoy warned. Libya’s progress is conditional on upholding the principles of pluralism, inclusivity, separation of powers and adherence to agreed democratic values. Many Libyans, however, remain “sceptical of the political process in their country and frustrated with their political elites,” he said. Low participation in two recent elections is an indication of the “erosion of credibility.” “The threat from the spread of terrorist groups has become real. Their presence and activity in a number of Libyan cities are known to all,” he said. Succeeding Mr. Mitri will be Bernardino León of Spain who will assume the role of Special Representative and head of UNSMIL on 1 September.Also today, the Security Council adopted a resolution calling on all parties in Libya to agree to an immediate ceasefire and an end to fighting. The 15-member body also condemned the use of violence against civilians and called on those responsible to be held accountable. The text also modifies the Libya sanctions regime and strengthens the exemption procedure with respect to the arms embargo currently in place. read more

Global Witness advises DRC companies on due diligence regarding conflict minerals

first_imgRebels, militias and army units have hijacked the trade in mineral ores from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while subjecting the civilian population to massacres, rape, extortion, forced labour and forced recruitment of child soldiers. Congo’s `conflict minerals’ are laundered into the global supply chain by export houses, before being transformed into refined metals by large international smelting firms. The metals are then used in a wide range of products, including consumer electronic goods such as mobile phones and computers. Some of the world’s most famous brands are now coming under scrutiny to address their role in this devastating trade.Nobody forces companies to purchase minerals or metals mined in war zones. It is their choice. Those that source minerals or metals originating from eastern DRC need to show the public that they have procedures in place to prevent direct or indirect involvement with serious human rights abuses and other crimes. This is what is called `due diligence’.Despite the mounting pressure on companies that use minerals and metals to carry out due diligence, few are actually doing this. Some companies claim that it is too complicated or too difficult for them to do. Due diligence is a process that all reputable companies understand and employ on a regular basis to address risks ranging from corruption to environmental damage.This paper argues that the due diligence that companies using minerals or metals originating from eastern DRC needs to undertake consists of:• A conflict minerals policy• Supply chain risk assessments, including on the ground checks on suppliers• Remedial action to deal with any problems identified• Independent third party audits of their due diligence measures• Public reportingThe report outlines each of these elements and makes suggestions on how companies can put them into practice. By putting these measures in place, companies can help to create a mining sector in eastern DRC that brings real benefit to the people who live there. A due diligence-based approach to sourcing minerals and metals is not about imposing blanket bans on trade; it is about ensuring that business does not perpetuate armed violence, serious human rights abuses and other crimes.At the same time, a key message to companies that runs through this paper is that if they choose to use minerals or metals originating from eastern DRC they have a responsibility to demonstrate – by doing due diligence – that their activities are not causing harm. If they cannot do this, they must seek their supplies elsewhere.last_img