Tag Archives: Libya

Statement on UK military involvement in Libya

UK WILPF is concerned with the equal participation of African women in peace and security processes as well as issues of human rights on the continent.

Our Voices of African Women campaign group is extremely troubled by the worsening situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. In particular we are concerned with NATO’s excessive military aggression and the UK government’s actions, which are fuelling a civil war in the North African country.

We deplore the UK government’s use of excessive military aggression namely through the government’s announcement that it will imminently make four Apache helicopters available to the NATO mission in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Further, the sending of military advisors to Libyan rebel forces – The Transitional National Council (TNC) – is fuelling a civil war. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/ApachesGetReadyToHelpProtectLibyanCivilians.htm.

NATO’s escalating air strikes in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the targeting of Muammar Gaddafi’s compounds and the death of his son, further demonstrate NATO’s agenda of ‘regime change’.

We would like to remind the UK Government and NATO that United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 do not authorise regime change, the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power or the injuring or killing of Colonel Gaddafi. UNSCR 1973 in particular refers to the implementation of the protection of civilians, no fly zone, arms embargo, ban of flights and the freezing of assets. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/268/39/PDF/N1126839.pdf.

We would also like to remind the UK Government and other members of NATO of their commitment to international law, the Security Council, state sovereignty, diplomacy and peace. Agreed UN Security Council Resolutions with different objectives cannot be manipulated to effect regime change.

The Voices of African Women campaign group particularly urges the UK Government and NATO to recognise African regional bodies and their diplomatic efforts in securing a ceasefire. An Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the State of Peace and Security in Africa was convened on 25 May 2011 and the African Union High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya convened on 26 May 2011. They issued a five point roadmap to peace in Libya which is available at

A reinvestment in diplomatic efforts between the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the TNC, the African Union and NATO could secure a ceasefire of hostilities. We urge all parties to abide by the mandate provided by UNSC resolutions 1970 and 1973. The protection of civilians is of paramount importance and the killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is unacceptable especially if NATO and the TNC do not recognise diplomatic efforts that have been made by the African Union and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for a ceasefire.

Download PDF version of this statement

Declaration against the War in Libya

WILPF women in the UK, Germany, France and the United States are angry at our governments’ actions in Libya.

The bombing is hypocrisy. Our governments have presented military intervention as coming to the ‘rescue’ of rebels and civilians while diplomacy has taken a back seat. They have forgotten that military intervention is not the answer to the Libyan people’s calls for freedom and democracy.

The UN Charter clearly states that all parties need to settle their disputes peacefully, to ensure international peace, security and justice. Only when all other means have failed can further action be taken. In the case of Libya the obligation to work for peace has been reversed with the massive military strike coming first, while strengthened boycotts and civilian measures are still being debated.

We ask our governments to use diplomacy and peaceful political pressure to resolve the situation in Libya. We call for a total ban on arms exports to all sides in Libya, and no more arms exports to repressive regimes.

Statement from WILPF Germany against the war in Libya (PDF)

Outrage over UK arms sales to Libya

In recent weeks we have seen state owned weapons in Libya turned against civilians, legitimate protesters who have taken to the street to demand their basic human rights.

Where have these weapons come from? In the third quarter of 2010 (the most recent period for which figures are available), equipment approved for export to Libya included, crowd control ammunition, small arms ammunition and tear gas/irritant ammunition. Ammunition comprised £3.2m of the £4.7m million of military items licensed. The UK was happy to arm Gaddafi, and continues to be happy to arm the dictators of the Arab World, last week David Cameron travelled to the Middle East, flanked by arms companies, in a disgraceful sales trip.

The UK and the International Community has a responsibility to protect civilians. So was itreasonably foreseeable that the arms provided to the Libyan dictator by the UK, would be used against civilians leading to direct violations of human rights and international humanitarian law? Or was it safe to assume that, given the nature of the regime, the stockpiles were for legitimate use?

It is too late to protect after the event and these arms should not have been sold.

Dear Sir,

The UK Section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has today expressed outrage at the government’s continued readinesss to export arms to authoritarian regimes.

The United Nations Security Council has called for an immediate end to violence in Libya, and concerns about the use of British made weapons against civilians grow, yet David Cameron still cannot see any problem with arms sales to authoritarian regimes.  Yesterday he referred to arms deals as a “fact of life”.

As David Cameron spoke in Kuwait yesterday to condemn violence against civilians in Libya he was flanked by officials from arms companies and the UK Trade & Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) who are exhibiting at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), the largest defence and security event in the Middle East and North African region.

Weapons including tear gas and crowd control ammunition have been exported by the UK to countries including Bahrain and Libya.  The timing of this sales trip is deplorable and exploitative and shows the government’s disregard for human security and freedom of expression.

UK WILPF calls for the immediate embargo of all arms sales to the region and an urgent enquiry into unethical and irresponsible selling practices by the UK government.

PAT PLEASANCE

President, UK WILPF