Tripoli, 7 March 2013:
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has called on Libyans to respect freedom of faith and freedom . . .[restrict]of the press. The call follows an attack on the Coptic church in Benghazi last Thursday by militants and the continued arrest of Amara Abdallah Al-Khatabi, the editor of the newspaper Al-Umma.
In a statement issued today, UNSMIL said it was “deeply concerned” as a result of several recent incidents, including attacks on media organisations, threats against journalists, and violence against a Coptic church and other houses of worship.
“These acts violate fundamental human rights, particularly the freedom of faith and freedom of expression,” it stated.
“The universal values of tolerance, moderation, and respect for differences are deeply rooted in Libyan society’s religious and cultural heritage,” said Tarek Mitri, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. “These values should be the foundation upon which the new Libya is built.”
UNSMIL said it commended the Libyan authorities’ commitment to ensure respect for human rights and accountability for violators. “UNSMIL calls upon political, community, and civil society leaders to deter incitement to violence against anyone based on their political or religious beliefs, ethnic background, nationality, or gender.”
The government has already condemned the attack on the church. [/restrict]