UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

UN Security Council Briefing on Libya


SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: And now I give
the floor to the representative of United States. AMBASSADOR HALEY: Thank you, Madam President. And thank you, Special Representative Salamé,
as well as the Ambassador from Sweden, for your briefings. The United States stands fully behind the
efforts to help bring peace to Libya. The Libyan people have been waiting more than
seven years for a better future. After rising up against one of the world’s
most brutal tyrants, the promise of Libya’s revolution remains unfulfilled. The stakes for international peace and security
are high. Libya’s insecurity doesn’t just affect
Libyans. Groups like ISIS have taken advantage of the
conflict to put down roots. Loose arms from Libya are fueling violence
from the Sahel to the Sinai. Brutal militias conspire with criminal gangs
to smuggle migrants to Europe. The lawlessness in Libya is an issue that
concerns us all. Last year, a horrific video emerged that captured
the world’s attention. It showed migrants being sold into slavery
in Libya. It was sick and inhumane. There is no place in our world for slavery. We must never tolerate the conditions that
could allow such a barbaric practice to occur. Sadly, human rights abuses against migrants
occur all too frequently in Libya. One desperate survivor of a Libyan detention
facility told Doctors Without Borders recently, “I’ve endured two months, three weeks,
one day, and twelve hours of hell.” We can only imagine how many thousands of
migrants are enduring their own hell in detention facilities right now. This is a crisis that calls for immediate
action from this Security Council. The groups that are responsible for these
abuses are the same ones that are destabilizing Libya. Those who torture migrants and refugees profit
from smuggling, and they use these profits to undermine the authority of government institutions. These ruthless smugglers are threatening Libya’s
peace and security. This time, the Security Council is in a position
to respond and live up to our responsibilities. The Council is considering sanctions against
six individuals involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking in Libya. These designations would be an important step
toward holding the perpetrators of abuses accountable. We regret that the Security Council has not
yet reached consensus on these designations. Failing to move forward with the designations
would be a travesty in the face of so much global outrage over these abuses. There is strong regional support for these
designations. And the evidence showing the involvement of
the six people is clear. So the United States hopes that the Security
Council can move forward with these sanctions designations as soon as possible to deter
further abuses. In the meantime, we continue to encourage
the Government of National Accord to work closely with international agencies to assist
vulnerable migrants and refugees. The International Organization for Migration
and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees have done good work. They are helping to repatriate migrants in
a safe and voluntary manner from detention facilities and assist those with claims to
protection. IOM and UNHCR must be able to continue these
important efforts. In the long run, of course, addressing Libya’s
instability requires a political solution. That is where Special Representative Salamé’s
work comes in. The United States is a firm supporter of the
UN dialogue. This should be the only mediation process. Separate international initiatives will distract
from the UN’s efforts and undermine prospects for national reconciliation. While the UN works on talks, all parties must
exercise restraint. There should be no unilateral action outside
of the UN process. Political spoilers must stop undermining the
dialogue and engage with the UN in good faith. As Special Representative Salamé has said,
the Libyan people are eager for elections to bring an end to interim governments and
political transitions. So we appreciate the progress the UN has made
to prepare for elections. These elections must be well prepared, so
we do not end up with any further instability. There is a strong international consensus
that for the elections to happen, there needs to be a constitutional basis. The United States stands behind this consensus. Libyan leaders need to commit to both the
election process and to respecting the will of the Libyan people. Special Representative Salamé must have the
space to consult with Libya’s leaders on how to move forward with a democratic and
inclusive constitutional process. We look forward to hearing more from him on
next steps. Since 2012, the United States has given more
than $32 million to support election preparations and the drafting of a new constitution in
Libya. We urge other donors to step up to meet the
needs of Libya’s election commissions so the government can finish its preparations. On May 2, terrorists attacked the headquarters
of the national election commission in Tripoli. We condemn this cowardly attack, which only
deepens our commitment to support free and fair elections. We recognize the immense courage of the election
officials who continue to report to work despite these threats. They are working to help build a democratic
Libya, and they deserve our full backing. It’s people like these we need to remember
in the Security Council. We need to support the Libyans who are pushing
for peace, instead of those fighting for their own selfish interests. Those Libyans who are holding out from the
UN process need to understand that they must come to the table. Despite all the insecurity, there is hope. One 24-year-old student named Salim, who participated
in the 2011 revolution, recently attended a workshop on reconciliation. Reflecting on his experiences, Salim said,
“I refuse to take part in an act of vengeance. That is not what 2011 was all about. And if we can be reminded that our aspiration
was freedom and a better life, we might start thinking differently.” Salim is right. It is long past time for Libya’s leaders
to put aside their narrow agendas and instead think about the aspirations of the Libyan
people. It is long past time for Libyans to come together
around the cause of a stable, unified, and democratic government. The United States will not hesitate to use
all of the tools we have to help Libyans achieve this goal. Thank you. SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I thank
the representative of United States for her statement.

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