Human Rights Council: continued focus on Libya
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:40

On 2 March, the Human Rights Council (Council) concluded its annual high-level segment after hearing statements from State dignitaries over the course of three days. The vast majority of State representatives used the opportunity to express their concern over the violent use of force against peaceful protestors in Libya. The segment therefore benefitted from a much more focused and relevant high-level segment than in previous years, as the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa provided a pressing background to the debate.


On 3 March, the Bureau of the Council also decided to postpone the adoption of the UPR report on Libya. The report – drafted by the UPR Working Group in November 2010 – was scheduled for adoption in the Council plenary on 18 March. Given recent developments in the country, the decision to postpone adoption until at least the June session will provide more time to consider if adoption of the report is still relevant.


During the high-level segment, Belgium and Australia referenced the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine, stating that the situation in Libya was a reminder to all leaders that sovereignty was a responsibility and not a privilege. Speakers stressed that the repression of peaceful expression of dissent was intolerable, and that the responsiveness to the cries of the victims was thus a direct responsibility of the Council and the international community. Speakers lauded the swift response of the Council to condemn the flagrant human rights violations occurring in Libya, and fully endorsed the General Assembly’s decision to suspend Libya’s membership in the Council.


In contrast, the representative from Venezuela criticised the Council’s strong response to Libya, claiming that it was another attempt by the United States to assert its global dominance and extend its ‘empire’. Regarding the decision to revoke Libya’s membership in the Council, Venezuela stated that such decisions should be made impartially and not merely directed at certain States while neglecting the grave violation of human rights in others, including in occupied territories. Cuba reinforced this position, stating that it strongly opposed any military intervention in Libya, and that the swift international response was driven by the United States’ and other European countries’ greed for hydrocarbons rather than a concern for peace for the Libyan people. The Russian delegate denounced the violence against civilians in Libya, but claimed that the problems there needed to be addressed by the people themselves, and without any interference from outside parties.


On 14 March, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue to follow-up to its special session on the situation on human rights in Libya.

© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018