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Namibia | Libya
Politics | Society

Libya's ambassador in Namibia defects

The Libyan seat at the UN has been empty during the last week, following defections

© Jean-Marc Ferre/UN Photo/afrol News
afrol News, 4 March
- A Namibian-based diplomat at the Libyan Embassy has defected to join anti-Ghaddafi and pro-democracy movement at home and abroad. Saad Bakar (44) and his family have left Namibia for "a Mediterranean destination".

The Namibian human rights group NamRights yesterday assisted the Libyan diplomat in defecting, the Windhoek-based group confirmed in a statement forwarded to afrol News today.

Mr Bakar approached had NamRights after he had unsuccessfully sought assistance from several Namibian-based foreign embassies. Officials at a UN agency in the country referred him to the Namibian human rights monitoring and advocacy organization on 2 March.

In order to ensure his aerial journey from Namibia to be safeguarded, NamRights had sent an urgent communication to the Geneva-based UN human rights agency to ask for assistance. "Mr Bakar has since safely reached his destination in a Middle Eastern country," informs NamRights leader Phil ya Nangoloh.

Mr Bakar is just one of dozens of Libyan envoys worldwide, who have recently resigned their positions in protest against widespread and systematic human rights violations in their homeland. Since the violations began, all Libyan diplomats to the Arab League have resigned in protest against Colonel Ghaddafi's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

On 21 February, Libyan Ambassador to the US, Ali Aujali, removed the current Libyan flag over his residence and replaced it with the one during King Idris' rule.

Libya's UN Ambassador, Mohamed Shalgham, on 25 February, denounced Colonel Ghaddafi whom he had previously praised as "my friend." Ambassador Shalgham explained that he initially "could not believe" Mr Ghaddafi could order his troops to open fire on the pro-democracy protesters. Hence, he urged that punitive sanctions be imposed on the Gaddafi regime.

Also, on 25 February, all Libyan diplomats at the UN offices in Geneva defected to the opposition, dealing yet another blow to Colonel Gaddafi. A Geneva-based Libyan diplomat said, during a special meeting of the Human Rights Council, that the entire mission has decided to turn their backs on Mr Ghaddafi and to only serve as "representatives of the Libyan people."

Senior Libyan diplomats in Portugal, France and Sweden as well as those at UNESCO have also turned their backs on Colonel Ghaddafi in recent days.

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