UN throws Libya out of Human Right Council

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New York, Mar 3: The UN General Assembly decided by consensus to suspend Libya's membership of the Human Rights Council over leader Muammar Gaddafi's bloody crackdown on anti-government protestors.

The resolution, which was ultimately co-sponsored by more than 50 countries, also expressed "deep concern about the human rights situation" in the country, where government forces continued to attack demonstrators.

It is the first time that a country's membership of the UN council has been suspended. The Geneva-based body, comprising 47 states, was created in 2006 to address human rights violations and make appropriate recommendations.

Libya has been a member since May 2010, with its term set to expire in 2013, and was among four members elected from the African region.

"The General Assembly has come together to speak with one voice to Libya's unrepentant rulers," US Ambassador Susan Rice said in the plenary session on Tuesday.

"This unprecedented action sends another clear warning to Gaddafi and those who still stand by him: they must stop the killing." Other countries also spoke out against the current situation in Libya, although no one representing the country made any comments.

"Japan condemns the government violence and use of force against (Libya's) own citizens," Japan's Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida said.

"All perpetrators of these heinous acts must be brought to justice." Although Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Valero backed the move, he was cautious about US motives for positioning itself in the region and wanted member states to "put a stop to the invasion plans against Libya."

Meanwhile, as discussions get under way among some of the world's top leaders about instituting a possible no-fly zone over Libya, Rice said the UN Security Council has not discussed the issue yet.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, however, told reporters after the plenary session that such a step could not be ruled out. 

PTI (Kyodo)

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