Libyan Mission to UNOG defects from Gaddafi as Council recommends suspension of membership
Friday, 25 February 2011 20:26


The Libyan Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva has become the latest defection from Colonel Gaddafi’s government. During a special session on the human rights situation in Libya, held by the Human Rights Council (the Council) today, 25 February, the Libyan delegate welcomed the ongoing protests against Gaddafi's regime. In a powerful statement, the delegate honoured those who have been killed and called for a minute's silence to be held for the victims of the violence. The delegate affirmed the support of the mission in Geneva for the Libyan people, declaring that he spoke as the ‘representative of the Libyan people and not the Libyan government’.


The special session on Libya was held with the support of a significant number of States, a total of 52, consisting of 21 member States and 31 observers of the Council. It was the first time that a current member of the Council has been the subject of a special session. At the session the Council adopted without a vote a resolution recommending that the General Assembly should consider suspending Libya from membership of the Council. This is an unprecedented move, and sends a strong signal from the Council that it will not accept as a member any country that does not uphold high human rights standards. Although the situation in Libya is exceptional, it is to be hoped that the Council will continue to act strongly and with urgency in cases where serious human rights violations are being committed. It is now up to the General Assembly to consider the recommendation for suspension, which it is expected to do at a meeting on 1 March. Suspension requires the support of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly present and voting.


States who spoke during the special session strongly condemned the human rights violations being committed by the Libyan authorities against the Libyan people. Many described the abuses as crimes against humanity, and called for the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court. Others expressed shock at the extremity of the Government’s response to the protests, including the aerial bombardment of civilians. States called for the rights of the Libyan people to demonstrate peacefully to be upheld, for media restrictions to be lifted and for humanitarian assistance to be given safe passage to enter the country. In light of the severity of the situation, States emphasised the necessity of the Council speaking with a strong and united voice, and called on the international community to respond concretely and decisively to the crisis in Libya.


In the resolution the Council also calls for the immediate dispatch of an independent and international commission of enquiry to establish facts and to pinpoint responsibility and accountability for violations committed in connection to the protests. The commission of enquiry will report to the 17th session of the Council, in June 2011. The resolution further requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Council with an oral update on the human rights situation in Libya, at its 16th session, opening next week (28 February), and to organise an interactive dialogue on the situation during the 17th session of the Council.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 February 2011 19:47
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018