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Articles from the Peace News log: Libya

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

Review of Human Rights Watch's report 'Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya', published May 14, 2012.

ImageHuman Rights Watch published its findings today on civilian casualties resulting from NATO's air strikes against Libya in 2011 in a report entitled 'Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya', concluding that at least seventy-two civilians were killed as a result of the strikes, of which a third were children.

The seventy-six page report is based on extensive field investigations conducted by Human Rights Watch between August 2011 and April 2012 and follows a report published by Amnesty International in March entitled 'Libya: The forgotten victims of NATO strikes' which also documented civilian casualties stemming from NATO airstrikes. Human Rights Watch investigated eight NATO air strikes that hit residential homes and resulted in the seventy-two deaths, of which twenty-four were children and twenty were women. In addition to these tragic losses, dozens of other civilians were also wounded in these attacks. 

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Polls in the UK show confusion and a lack of enthusiasm for the war in Libya

Two months on, the opinion polls show the British public is largely undecided about the Libya war, undecided and unenthusiastic.

The first two polls were contradictory. A Comres poll showed greater opposition than support: 35 per cent in favour of the military action and 43 per cent against it. A YouGov poll showed 45 per cent of people supporting action by Britain, the US and France, and 36 per cent stating that it was wrong. One showed eight per cent more opposition than support; the other nine per cent more support than opposition, a 7% swing!

Two explanations for the discrepancy might be that the two polls were taken at slightly different times (Comres was carried out between 18 and 20 March; YouGov was carried out two days later, between 20 and 21 March), and they had slightly different questions. The Comres question (“[Do you agree or disagree that] It is right for the UK to take military action against colonel Gaddafi’s forces in Libya”) implied UK unilateralism, while YouGov (“Do you think Britain, France, the US and other countries are right or wrong to take military action in Libya?”) stressed international participation in the war. On the other hand, Comres mentioned Gaddafi, who is a hate figure in the UK, while YouGov did not, which may go some way to evening out the biases in the questions.

Neither poll, carried out just after British pilots started their bombing runs, showed more than 50% support for the war, when, as Peter Kellner of YouGov pointed out, 53% of Britons supported the invasion of Iraq immediately after the war had started.

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Jill Gibbon in Parliament

Drawing (along with shouting, swearing, throwing things and throwing up) is not allowed in the houses of parliament. All the more reason to do it. Here is David Cameron defending the SAS mission to Libya in PMQs last week.


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