Mr. Chair, over the course of the last few weeks, the people of Libya and many other states in Africa and the Middle East have taken to the streets in protest. People are demanding respect for their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the first international pronouncement of human rights norms and freedoms, justice and peace, including the inherent dignity, and equal and inalienable rights of all humans.
The subsequent International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further enhanced the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedoms.
These charters, covenants and other international treaties establish the foundation for a state's responsibilities to its citizens.
I thank the House for agreeing to such an important debate on Libya and for the world community hearing the cries of its people. Colonel Gadhafi and his regime have brought the full might of armed forces to bear on his people and have used paid mercenaries to crush his own people.
In February, the UN Security Council agreed to resolution 1970. This condemned Gadhafi's actions. It imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on those at the top of his regime. It demanded an end to the violence, access for international human rights monitors, and the lifting of restrictions on the media. It referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court, so that its leaders should face the justice they deserve.
Gadhafi ignored the demands of UN Security Council resolution 1970, that it stop the violence against the Libyan people. His forces have attacked peaceful protestors and are now preparing for a violent assault on the city of Benghazi. Gadhafi has publicly promised that every home would be searched and there would be no mercy and no pity shown.
Human Rights Watch has catalogued the appalling human rights abuses that are being committed in Tripoli.
The transitional national council was the first to call for protection from air attacks, through a no-fly zone. This was followed by the Arab League.
On March 17, the UN Security Council, acting under paragraphs 7 and 8, adopted resolution 1973 by a vote of ten in favour to none against and five abstentions. The resolution demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all acts against abuse of civilians. It establishes a ban on all flights in the airspace of Libya in order to help protect civilians and it authorizes member states to take “all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban”.
Crucially, it says in paragraph 4:
Authorizes Member States...acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures...to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack...including Benghazi.
The council authorized member states acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libya.
Resolution 1973 provides legal authority for the international community to use force to protect civilians.
It further demands that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law, take all measures to protect civilians, meet their basic needs, and ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.
The foreign minister of France, Alain Juppé, said, “The situation on the ground is more alarming than ever, marked by the violent re-conquest of cities that have been released”. The Security Council could not stand by and “let the warmongers flout international legality”. The world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, but the will of the Libyan people had been “trampled under the feet of the Gadhafi regime”.
The resolution both authorizes and sets the limits of the international community action, and that of Canada. It specifically excludes an occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.
Now that the UN Security Council has reached its decision, there is a responsibility for Canada to act with other nations.
The Security Council resolution 1973 is measured to restore international peace and security under paragraph 7 of the United Nations Charter.
As the member for Davenport, I am pleased that the overall will of this House is to support the UN Security Council resolutions.
States have a responsibility to deliver political goods, security, health and education, good governance and rule of law, to their people. Today the Libyan government has been outlawed by the international community as a failed state for no longer being willing to carry out these functions, as well as for massacring its own people. Libya has refused to meet a specific set of conditions, to respect human rights and adhere to the UN Security Council resolution.
The UN Security Council, in resolution 1973, has again confirmed the doctrine that sovereignty is a right that comes with responsibility. One cannot have sovereignty in the absence of responsibility and the doctrine of responsibility to protect. The Westphalia definition of state sovereignty no longer applies.
Afghanistan and Somalia have demonstrated the danger of ignoring failing or failed states. State failure not only presents considerable challenges for those states in decline or collapse, but also for the international system as a whole. Humanitarian challenges arise from the fact that states fail. We all remember too well the lessons learned from the acts of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Libya leader Gadhafi is unwilling to safeguard minimal civil conditions of peace, order and security for his people. He has brought war, anarchy and destruction upon his people and has lost the legitimacy of governance both domestically and internationally.
Under international law, Libya has an obligation to protect its citizens and ensure that human rights are protected. If it fails under the new doctrine of responsibility to protect, in which the leader of my party played an important role in the drafting of that document, the UN will act in demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity. The Security Council has demonstrated these actions are no longer tolerable and I applaud the Security Council for this action.