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The UNHCR has finally blown the veil off the racist atrocities being committed by Libyan rebels:

GENEVA, August 26 (UNHCR) – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has issued a strong call for sub-Saharan Africans to be protected in Libya as reports emerge from Tripoli of people being targeted because of their colour as the city fell to rebel forces.

UNHCR spoke by phone on Friday to one scared African, Ahmed, a Somali who has been living in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and teaching at the university there, since 2007. He has stayed on in the city since anti-government protests in the North African country turned violent in February, leading to all-out war between the Muammar Gaddafi regime and rebel forces.

Ahmed said he did not feel directly threatened. But now, as rebels take over the city, he wants to leave. Since most neighbourhoods in Tripoli fell to rebels earlier this week, sub-Saharan Africans like Ahmed are again being singled out.

“If they see you are African, that you are black, they will target you,” said Ahmed, reached in his home. He said local residents, many of whom are armed, are in the streets, setting up roadblocks. “The situation is very difficult here,” he told UNHCR. “You can’t leave your home even for water.”

As a result, he and other Somalis in the community with whom they are in contact are running out of vital supplies. One group of Somalis was attacked when they tried to leave their apartment in another part of the city, he said, leaving one man injured. “It’s really very desperate.”

Sub-Saharan Africans, especially those from Niger, Chad and Sudan, have been targeted by both sides after it became known that some sub-Saharan Africans had worked as mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime. Many migrants fled to neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. But several hundred did not.

They are trapped in the capital as, once again, people with black skin are being accused of siding with the dictator. “Anyone who is black, they say they are against them,” said Ahmed, who has family in the United States and a visa awaiting him in Tunis, if he can reach there safely.

The High Commissioner has urged restraint from rebel forces and Libyan civilians. “We have seen at earlier stages in this crisis that such people, Africans especially, can be particularly vulnerable to hostility or acts of vengeance,” he said.

“It is crucial that humanitarian law prevails through these climactic moments and that foreigners – including refugees and migrant workers – are being fully and properly protected from harm,” he stressed.

For more information:

On the ethnic cleansing by the rebels
On the lynching at rebel HQ in Benghazi
On the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha

What has happened to the people of Tawergha? What has happened to the prisoners in the shipping crate? We ask our readers to insist the media cover what is really going on in Tripoli and stop the unforgiveable practice of the media and so-called human rights activists justifying the persecution of black people as “African mercenaries.”

Update 27 August

Kim Sengupta reporting from Tripoli writes:

“Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,” shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed? Mr Sabri, more a camp follower than a fighter, shrugged. It was seemingly incomprehensible to him that anything wrong had been done.

 

NATO has been described as the rebel air force, but it is more accurate to describe the rebels as NATO’s ground forces. The National Transitional Council has little independence and NATO controls the rebel ground forces, arms them, trains them, provides advisers, provides massive fire support and decides on strategy. NATO controls the air and sea and little moves on the ground without NATO’s permission.

As the rebel fighters took Zawiya, NATO faced a last-minute appeal from the Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim for a negotiated solution. The precise circumstances that led to the decision to proceed with the attack on the capital, with the inevitable humanitarian disaster that followed are uncertain, but the decisions made will be subject to examination.

It is worth having a look at the footage of Muammar Gaddafi touring the capital, to appreciate what a beautiful, well-developed city Tripoli had become and also to understand some of the obvious popular support he enjoys in that city:

Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama and the NATO high command share the belief in the efficacy of violence combined with vigorous prosecution of the information war is the best way forward. NATO, of course, has no interest in fulfilling UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians with

“the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution”

In making their decision the western leaders would have been encouraged by the enthusistic participation of the western media in producing pro-war propaganda, who faithfully and uncritically report information provided by NATO, government spokespeople and intelligence sources. Anything which may seriously threaten the pro-war narrative is either not reported or downplayed (e.g. rebel atrocities, ethnic cleansing of Misrata and Tawergha, RAF massacre in Zlitan, peace initiatives, support for Gadaffi regime from Libyan people).

Support for Admiral Stavridis’ information war was also provided by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who has been a very enthusiastic participant in NATO psy-ops.

In any case, in an attack coordinated by NATO, rebels from the Western Mountains entered Tripoli from the west and ships delivered fighters from Misrata, fresh from ethnically cleansing Tawergha, into the city. NATO airstrikes were launched against the residential area of Abu Salim.

The short-term results from a humanitarian perspective were predictable: widespread destruction, looting, a collapse of public services, executions, widespread death and destruction and the deaths of hundreds of civilians (particularly black people), militia and fighters on both sides. As AP reports:

The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

The long-term consequences of this are unpredictable, but Sirte on the coast and Sabha in the south-west are next to be turned into slaughter-houses and how long guerrilla warfare and other violence will continue is anyone’s guess.

HRI supports the African Union’s continued attempts, to find a peaceful and sustainable solution which is inclusive of all parties to the conflict.