“Alleged Libyan rape victim deported from Qatar back to Libya”
-June 02, 2011 By Nic Robertson, CNN
"Secret diplomatic moves were under way to enable Col Muammar Gaddafi to leave Libya and seek temporary asylum in a sympathetic country."
-The Telegraph 9/6/2011
A double standard?
The situation in Libya has deteriorated considerably over the last few months. Civil war has made life uncertain for a large portion of the population and two drastically different asylum cases bring up a serious issue of double standard.
Last March Eman al-Obeidy grabbed the worlds attention by marching into a Tripoli hotel filled with international reporters claiming she had been kidnapped and raped by 15 members of Gadhafi’s security forces over the course of two days. After telling her story she was forced to flee Libya and made her way to Qatar where, with the help of the UNHCR, she tried to start a new life. This, however, was not to be, as Qatari authorities deported her back to Libya despite the pleas of the UNHCR and others.
We often see asylum as a tool for those who have no other option to seek a better life. It is a way for people to escape persecution when they fear living in their own country. A person like Eman al-Obeidy is exactly who asylum is supposed to protect.
But what happens when it is the persecutor who all of a sudden has what might be considered a "well founded fear of persecution". Colonnel Gaddafi is certainly living in fear at the moment, as rebels take control of more and more of the country. In the U.S. we have provisions preventing persecutors from being granted asylum but when it comes to a person like Gaddafi it seem the international community is more concerned with protecting him than bringing him to justice.
“Talks have been taking place over a deal to ensure the deposed dictator escapes a final reckoning with the rebels, so sparing Libya any further bloodshed.” –The Telegraph
There is no doubt that Libya has seen enough bloodshed, but does that mean that we have to grant asylum to the man who is the reason for all of the fighting in the first place? Is there no room for a middle ground where justice can be served? Why should Gaddafi be allowed to walk away and start a new life when Eman al-Obeidy cannot?
Much of what this blog and the class that accompanies it are about is fighting tooth and nail for the rights of the persecuted to seek safety and live a better life. It is, therefore, frustrating to see so much political will to come up with a place that will grant Gaddafi asylum, but at the same time a victim of brutal rape is returned to the place of her persecution.