Libya/UN: GA unanimously suspends Libya from HRC

UN Dispatch

At a historic General Assembly session this afternoon, the GA voted, by consensus, to suspend Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council.  In her remarks, Ambassador Rice said, “This unprecedented action sends another clear warning to Mr. Qadhafi and those who still stand by him: they must stop the killing. When the only way a leader can cling to power is by grossly and systematically violating his own people’s human rights, he has lost any legitimacy to rule. He must go, and he must go now.”  Rice also spoke to reporters after the vote. 

On the humanitarian front, More than 140,000 people have escaped violence by fleeing to Tunisia and Egypt. Just yesterday, 14,000 crossed the border into Tunisia and UNHCR is appealing for all neighboring governments to maintain open borders.  WFP has sent 80 tons of food who have fled to Tunisia. The WHO stresses the need for urgent action to avoid the emergence of potential pandemic, due to the severe shortage of food and clean drinking water.  This afternoon, the Secretary General met with senior advisers on North Africa and the Middle East.  Afterwards, he met with States at the GA to consider their response to Libya’s seat on the HRC.  In his remarks to the GA, he said that the HRC’s decision to dispatch a commission to investigate abuses and the Security Council’s referral to the ICC send “send a strong and important message…there is no impunity…those who commit crimes will be punished…justice and accountability will prevail”.  He also detailed humanitarian assistance to Libya, stating that UN assessment teams will deploy to organize a humanitarian response on the ground in eastern and western Libya, and announcing that he will appoint a  Special Envoy to work closely with regional governments and the international community to coordinate a rapid and effective response.

March 1, 2011