Libya faces call for exclusion from UN rights council | Pakistan Today

Libya faces call for exclusion from UN rights council

GENEVA – The UN rights chief decried Moamer Gaddafi regime’s “callous disregard” for Libyans during a special Human Rights Council session on the crisis on Friday, amid calls for an international probe into the violence. Western nations also led a call for the country to be excluded from the council, but Cuba opposed the move while China and Russia expressed reservations.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned the 47 member council that thousands may have been killed or injured in the violence in Libya. “In brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors,” she said.
“According to some sources, thousands may have been killed or injured,” she told envoys packed into the council room, although the Libyan delegation was notably missing. Calling on Gaddafi to stop the repression, she said: “Today’s brutal and shocking situation is the direct outcome of a callous disregard for the rights and freedom of Libyans that has marked the almost four-decade long grip on power by the current rule.”
Her comments came as world leaders studied punitive measures against Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss the crisis. The Human Rights Council had called an extraordinary session in Geneva amid the mounting casualty toll in Libya. Within the first hour of the session, Arab and African countries voiced strong condemnation of repression against protestors.
The meeting plans to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, … to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya,” according to a latest copy of the draft resolution seen by AFP. The text also strongly condemns possible “crimes against humanity” in the country.
A draft circulating amongst members included a recommendation for the suspension of the North African state from the council — a step that can only be taken by the UN General Assembly in New York — but the Cuban envoy said his country was opposed to the point. It “sets a very negative precedent” and that it was “opening the doors for those who wish to legitimise this instrument to be used against those who do not share their point of view.”
“Cuba wishes to stand aside from the paragraph 14 of the text submitted,” said the envoy. China meanwhile called for further discussions on the point, while Russia expressed its “serious concerns” on a suspension. Members of the Human Rights Council are elected by the UN General Assembly for three years and are required to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” under its rules.
Libya was elected in May 2010 to the council after obtaining 155 votes in a secret ballot from the 192-state General Assembly. The country could be suspended from the council if two-thirds of member states meeting in the General Assembly were to approve the move. Campaigners meanwhile expressed hope that the resolution would be passed by consensus given the gravity of the situation.
Amnesty International’s Peter Splinter noted that countries that might vote against would “face a very serious credibility problem in saying that they care about human rights.” US ambassador Eileen Donahoe also said that the “chances of passing the resolution are very good” as this was “an extreme case.”



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