Policy & Politics
Secretary of State Rice, Libyan Foreign Minister Meet to Discuss Bilateral Ties; Groups Call on Rice to Address Human Rights Issues
January 4, 2008
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam on Thursday met in Washington, D.C., to discuss potential bilateral ties between the U.S. and Libya, Reuters reports. Prior to the meeting, some groups had called on Rice to discuss human rights issues in Libya, including torture and political prisoners. Susannah Sirkin, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, called on Rice not to advance talks until Libya's "gross abuse and misuse of science," which was seen in the case of the six medical workers sentenced to death for allegedly intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV, is addressed (Eckert, Reuters, 1/3).
Sirkin said that Libya has not addressed the "health system failures that were the true cause of AIDS in the children's hospital," adding that Rice must "press Libya on these critical topics." PHR in a release said that progress toward full scientific and medical exchange between the U.S. and Libya cannot proceed until the released medical workers are fully exonerated and Muammar Gaddafi acknowledges the violations that occurred during the "outrageous episode" (PHR release, 1/2). Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch's Middle East and Northern Africa director, said, "We welcome improved relations between Libya and the U.S., but not at the expense of political prisoners, torture victims and other Libyans who suffer abuse."
U.S. Department of State spokesperson Sean McCormack said Rice raised the settlement of past cases, human rights and geopolitical issues during the meeting. "Secretary Rice urged Libya to move forward in resolving outstanding claims by families of terror victims against the Libyan government and raised human rights as an important agenda item for our bilateral relationship," McCormack added (Reuters, 1/3).
Palestinian Doctor Involved in HIV/AIDS Case Files Complaint Against Libya for Alleged Torture During Imprisonment
Medical Workers Sentenced to Death in HIV Infection Case Were Tortured During Incarceration, Gaddafi's Son Says
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.