Anti-Gaddafi Rebels Accused of War Crimes against Blacks in Libya12:47 - Friday 16 September 2011 - In Categories Wha'Gwaan, World News, World Videos
Veteran civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has joined leading human rights campaigners in calling for the new Libyan government’s rebel fighters to stop committing war crimes against the country’s black population.
The allegations follow reports detailing how in addition to battling Colonel Gaddafi’s soldiers, the rebels – backed by the UK, NATO and Libya’s new National Transitional Council (NTC) – have raped, tortured, executed and illegally arrested over 5,000 black Libyans and migrants.
Thousands more are being forced to flee their homes and relocate to the south of the country.
Libyan-born blacks make up around 30% of the country’s population and in the 1970s and 1980s Gaddafi’s regime employed hundreds of thousands of young, black jobseekers from neighbouring countries.
However, human rights campaigners say evidence of recent ethnic cleansing can be seen throughout Libya’s capital, Tripoli, and towns such as Tawergha where rebels purged the area of its 10,000 mostly black residents before looting and burning their homes, businesses and schools.
On Wednesday, Jackson called on President Obama to launch war-crimes investigation into the allegations.
He said: ‘Racism in the form of ethnic cleansing, killing and genocide is wrong anytime, anyplace and against anybody in the world.’
Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said: ‘It’s a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli.’
She added: ‘The NTC should stop arresting African migrants and black Libyans unless it has concrete evidence of criminal activity.’