France says 'watchful' on new Libya's respect for rights

24th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

France will keep a watchful eye over Libya's respect for human rights after the country's new leaders promised a system of Islamic sharia law, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

"We will be watchful of respect for human rights and democratic principles, notably cultural and religious diversity and the equality of men and women to which France is unswervingly attached," spokesman Bernard Valero said.

National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said on Sunday that sharia law would prevail in Libya after rebels liberated it from 42 years of Moamer Kadhafi's rule.

He notably cited laws under Kadhafi that banned polygamy and allowed divorce to happen in a certain way as being un-Islamic and therefore no longer enforceable.

"Abdel Jalil said yesterday that Islam would be the main source of Libyan law, while specifying that he would defend the principle of a 'moderate' Islam," Valero said.

"We trust in the Libyan people, who have courageously broken with 42 years of dictatorship, to establish the rule of law and adopt the universal principles and values shared by the international community."

"Libya is today going through a period of transition that brings with it much hope. The laws of tomorrow's Libya will be determined after the holding of free elections.

"It's up to the Libyan people to define the principles of their democracy," Valero said.

France spearheaded the international community's efforts to back those revolting against Kadhafi's rule, including calling for UN-mandated air strikes on his forces and recognising the NTC.

© 2011 AFP

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