Forces loyal to fallen Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi committed a vast array of possible war crimes while battling rebels in Misrata, the country's third largest city, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a U.S.-based human rights group. The report by Physicians for Human Rights, titled "Witness to War Crimes: Evidence from Misrata, Libya," is based on interviews of residents in the Misrata area conducted in June.
PHR today released a report on war crimes in Libya. The report, Witness to War Crimes, sheds light on Qaddafi’s brutal two-month siege of Misrata, whose residents reportedly suffered some of the most egregious abuses of the civil war. Also included are reports of civilians being used as human shields to guard military munitions from NATO attacks and documentary evidence of torture and the disappearances of elderly civilians.
Libyan troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi forced civilians to act as human shields, perching children on tanks to deter NATO attacks, human rights investigators said. It was part of a pattern of rapes, slayings, "disappearances" and other war crimes that they said they found. Physicians for Human Rights was able to get a team of interviewers into the embattled city of Misrata from June 5-12, just after Libyan rebel forces expelled Gadhafi's loyalists.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calls on the United Nations to initiate the immediate deployment of a team of human rights observers and humanitarian experts to Libya to prevent any possible human rights violations and to ease the transition to a civilian government.
Physicians for Human Rights is deeply concerned about reports of violations of medical neutrality in the Middle East and North Africa. Credible news reports show that medical professionals, health care facilities, and individuals seeking medical care are coming under attack in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region...