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UN General Assembly Suspends Libya From UN Human Rights Council

  • RFE/RL

The empty seats of the Libyan delegation at the UN European headquarters in Geneva

The empty seats of the Libyan delegation at the UN European headquarters in Geneva

The United Nations General Assembly has suspended Libya's membership in the UN Human Rights Council over violence by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi against peaceful protesters demanding Qaddafi's ouster.

The resolution on March 1 in the 192-member General Assembly followed a request from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council last week asking that Libya be suspended.

The UN Security Council has already imposed sanctions on Qaddafi's regime and requested that the International Criminal Court investigate it for possible crimes against humanity.

Speaking to the General Assembly special session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the decision to suspend Libya's membership and urged Qaddafi to stop the violence.

"The world has spoken with one voice. We demand an immediate end to the violence against civilians and full respect for their fundamental human rights, including those of peaceful assembly and free speech," Ban said.

"I welcome, as well, the recommendation of the Human Rights Council to suspend Libya's membership so long as the violence continues."

Though the UN Charter requires that two-thirds of General Assembly members vote for a suspension, the vote was accepted March 1 without a count since no country asked for a tabulation.

Reports say it has become clear that the vast majority of the General Assembly supports Libya's suspension, but with vocal dissenters including Cuba and Venezuela.