Gaddafi in Italy: no reward for human rights violations

Rome, 10 June 2009

Press release in Italian
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will be in Italy on 10-12 June 2009 for a series of meetings with Italian officials, including Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to sign bilateral agreements aimed at improving economic ties between the two countries. The Libyan head of State is also expected to receive a honouris causa degree in law from the University of Sassari.
On 10 June 2009, leaders and activists of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty; the Radicali Italiani; Hands Off Cain and No Peace Without Justice, together with Radical MPs, will hold a demonstration in Rome to remind the Italian government who they are preparing to welcome with honors as a head of State.
Despite Gaddafi’s global rehabilitation, Libya not only retains and applies the death penalty, including for political offences and "economic crimes", but systematically and violently erases internal political dissent, excludes any public role for women, is essentially complicit in the trafficking of thousands of desperate people fleeing poverty and conflict from many parts of Africa, and has not ratified the Convention on Refugees of' 1951, nor the 2002 Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
To date none of the highest authorities of the Italian Republic, nor the representatives of political parties who rushed to pay tribute to this "strategic partner", have suggested that there is any necessity to insist that this country -- to which Italy will give five billion euro over the next 20 years -- should respect fundamental human rights.
Moreover, the bestowal of an honorary degree by an Italian university to a sitting head of State with such a deplorable record of human rights violations shames Italy and damages the reputation of the entire Italian academic community.
To date, the appeal launched by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty to protest the expected bestowal of the honorary degree in law from the University of Sassari has been signed by over 800 teachers.
For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3913.