UNGA suspends Libya's membership in Human Rights Council

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New York - The 65th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday adopted a resolution to suspend the rights of membership of Libya in the UN Human Rights Council.

The 192-member General Assembly adopted the resolution by consensus.

The General Assembly "decides to suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," the resolution said.

By adopting the resolution, which was introduced by Lebanon on behalf of the African and Middle East countries, the 192-member General Assembly approved an unprecedented membership suspension in the Human Rights Council, which was set up nearly five years ago.

The resolution expressed "deep concern about the human rights situation" in Libya, which has been a member of the Human Rights Council since May 2010.

The Human Rights Council last Friday adopted a resolution calling on the General Assembly to consider suspending Libya's right to membership in the Geneva-based rights forum.

The resolution was made at the council's special session on the Libya situation, during which participating members unanimously agreed to send an independent investigation team to Libya.

Speaking before the General Assembly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the member states to adopt the resolution and approve the suspension of Libya's rights to membership in the Human Rights Council.

"Today, I urge the General Assembly to act decisively as well," Ban said.

At the same time, Joseph Deiss, president of the 65th General Assembly session, said: "Today it is up to us, the General Assembly, to do our part. We must show unity and resolve in our determination to promote the fundamental values of the (UN) Charter.

"This is our duty to all the men and women who are hoping and struggling to have their rights respected and who are running the greatest risks."

In the resolution, the General Assembly welcomed the 22 February statement by the Arab League, which suspended Libya from its session in light of the situation in the North African country, and the 23 February communique issued by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, which had decided to dispatch of an urgent fact-finding mission to Libya.

After the adoption of the resolution, a representative of Venezuela told the General Assembly that his country has the reservation on the decision of the General Assembly to suspend Libya's rights of membership in the UN rights forum, saying "the Libyan people must decide their own destiny without foreign interference."

The resolution should not be interpreted as an excuse to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya, he said.

He also criticized the move by a Western country to send its warships to the waters close to Libya to impose military threat on the country, and made it clear that the resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on Saturday did not authorise the military action against Libya.

The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution to impose sanctions on Libya, including an arms embargo against the Libyan authorities and travel ban and asset freeze directed at Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his key family members. - BuaNews-Xinhua