Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gaddafi accuses Europeans of abusing immigrants

Al-Reuters - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fought back against criticism of his rights record on Tuesday by accusing European countries of abusing African immigrants.

"We, Africans, are victims of injustice. They brought us here like cattle to do hard and dirty work, and then they throw us to live on the outskirts of towns and when we claim our rights, the police beat us," Gaddafi said.

His comments at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) appeared to be aimed at France's ethnically diverse suburbs where unemployment and resentment of the police are rampant and riots flared two years ago.

Gaddafi said immigrants should have equal rights to Europeans or he would help them return to Africa.

"Europeans are outbidding us on human rights and they are asking us about the respect of human rights in our countries. Foreigners are abused in Europe and they are asking about the respect of human rights," Gaddafi said in a speech.

"Either you live respected here in Europe and enjoy the same rights and duties as Europeans or you return to Africa."

Gaddafi is visiting France for the first time in 34 years and seeking to bolster his international standing after decades as an outcast of the West.