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UN suspends Libya from Human Rights Council

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-01

The UN's General Assembly has unanimously suspended Libya's membership on the UN Human Rights Council in the wake of violence committed against anti-government protesters by Libyan forces in recent weeks.

AP - The 192 U.N. member nations suspended Libya on Tuesday from the U.N. Human Rights Council in the latest international effort to halt the Gadhafi regime’s violent crackdown on protesters.

The General Assembly voted by consensus on the council’s recommendation to suspend Libya’s membership on the U.N’s top human rights body for committing “gross and systematic violations of human rights.” General Assembly President Joseph Deiss called for the vote and signaled its adoption by consensus by banging his wooden gavel.

 
The resolution sponsored by Arab and African states also expressed “deep concern” about the human rights situation in Libya.
 
The vote does not permanently remove Libya from the council, but prevents it from participation until the General Assembly determines whether to restore the country to full status. The 15-member Security Council slapped an arms embargo, a travel ban and assets freeze, on Moammar Gadhafi, his family and top associates during an emergency weekend meeting.
 
The vote was welcomed by the United States, which has imposed its own sanctions on the Gadhafi government.
 
“People who turn their guns on their own people have no place on the Human Rights Council,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.
 
“This is a harsh rebuke, but one that Libya’s leaders have brought down upon themselves,” she said. “It sends another clear warning to Mr. Gadhafi and those who stand by him: They most stop the killing.”
 
Gadhafi “has lost any legitimacy to rule,” Rice said. “He must go, and he must go now.”
 
Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Valero expressed reservations about the vote, saying “a decision such as this one could only take place after a genuine investigation.” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he would not condemn “my friend” Gadhafi.
 
In Geneva earlier Tuesday, top Russian diplomats ruled out the idea of creating a no-fly zone over Libya as Gadhafi unleashed bombing raids, special forces and army troops in a desperate bid to stay in power.
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the idea of imposing limits on Libyan air space as “superfluous” and said world powers must instead focus on fully using the sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council over the weekend.
 
Leaders in the U.S., Europe and Australia have suggested the military tactic - used successfully in Iraq and Bosnia - to prevent Gadhafi from bombing his own people. But Russia’s consent is required as a veto-wielding member of the Security Council.
 
However, British Foreign Minister William Hague said his country and its allies could seek to impose a no-fly zone in Libya without a U.N. mandate. Hague told BBC television on Tuesday that while “ideally” such an action would be sanctioned by a Security Council resolution, it wasn’t essential. In fact, the no-fly zones operated over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by the U.S. and Britain did not receive such U.N. approval, while the one over Bosnia did.
 
Russian NATO ambassador Dmitry Rogozin cautioned against moving militarily against Gadhafi without U.N. authorization.
 
“If someone in Washington is seeking a blitzkrieg in Libya, it is a serious mistake because any use of military force outside the NATO responsibility zone will be considered a violation of international law,” Rogozin told Russia’s Interfax news agency in Brussels.

 

Date created : 2011-03-01

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