How to Talk about Libya
What Can the U.S. Do the Protect the Libyan People?
- Cease Military Operations: The U.S. should end all military operations in Libya. War endangers more civilians, and U.S. military engagement is fueling further violence.
- Support Robust Diplomacy: The United States should lend its full support to coordinated diplomatic efforts by the African Union, the Arab League, and the United Nations to negotiate, implement and maintain a ceasefire in Libya. The United States should support agreed-upon regional and international peacekeeping efforts to maintain a ceasefire.
- Support Self-determination: Libyans themselves should decide through a political process a just and lasting solution for the future of their country.
- Continue the Arms Embargo: The international community, supported by the United States, should continue to stop the delivery of weapons to the warring parties in Libya.
- Provide Humanitarian Assistance: The United States should join with the international community to ensure unimpeded access by humanitarian agencies capable of provided urgently-needed assistance and protection to those in need both within Libya and in neighboring countries. All assistance must be provided in accordance with internationally-agreed humanitarian principles and not on the basis of political or military objectives.
- Demonstrate Global Leadership: The United States has a historic opportunity to demonstrate new global leadership by basing its foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa on principles of equality, human and citizenship rights, and the efficacy of nonviolence. The United States undermines this position when it chooses, or appears to choose, the government for Libya or other countries in the region.
FCNL is inspired by civil-society-led movements advocating open, responsive governments that will protect their human rights. Our experience, leadings and practice as Quakers have convinced us that political, social and economic change achieved by nonviolent struggle offers the best path to a durable and lasting solution to injustice.
We deplore the violence that has led to significant loss of life and property in Libya and offer our prayers for the victims and their families.
We believe governments are obligated to protect the rights of their citizens and to ensure their well-being. This governmental obligation is universal.
FCNL also believes that no military solutions exist to what are at heart political and humanitarian problems. War destroys our humanity. Rather than offering a solution, war itself is often the ultimate purveyor of human rights abuses.
In 2005, the United States joined the majority of the world’s governments in agreeing to a new global norm for the protection of civilians. When a state is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens, the international community has agreed to act. FCNL supports the “responsibility to protect (R2P)” and believes it should and can be implemented through robust diplomacy, humanitarian efforts, nonaggressive peacekeeping, and other nonviolent initiatives. We affirm the principle that the first responsibility of R2P is to prevent such crises from arising.
The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war. The current U.S. military action in Libya was not subject to congressional debate and approval. We support congressional efforts to hold a debate on U.S. objectives in Libya, North Africa and the Middle East.