Libya restored as UN humans right panel member

Resolution introduced by Libyan Deputy UN Ambassador passes with 123 votes in favor, 4 against, dozens do not vote.

November 18, 2011 22:30
2 minute read.
Libya flag seen on top of a damaged building

Libya flag 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani)


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UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly on Friday restored Libya's membership in the UN Human Rights Council, ending a suspension the United Nations imposed on Tripoli as civil war broke out there.

Libyan Deputy UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi introduced a resolution to the 193-nation assembly that had UN member states "welcoming the commitments made by Libya to uphold its obligations under international human rights law, to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law."

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The resolution passed, but not unanimously as Dabbashi had requested. It received 123 votes in favor and four against. There were six abstentions and dozens of countries did not participate in the vote.

The General Assembly suspended Libya's membership in the 47-nation rights council on March 1 after that body, the principal UN rights forum, accused Libya's rulers at that time of "gross and systematic violations of human rights" in their crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Speaking to the assembly before Friday's vote, Dabbashi acknowledged that there were "isolated cases" of rights abuses during the 7-month war between forces loyal to deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the rebels intent on ousting him.

He reiterated that the Libya's transitional government - the former rebels - was investigating the circumstances surrounding the capture and swift death of Gaddafi last month.

The government had said Gaddafi died from wounds sustained before his capture. But video footage of a bloodied Gaddafi being dragged and beaten by rebel soldiers while still alive led to allegations that Gaddafi was summarily executed and international calls for an investigation.

The four countries that voted against readmitting Libya to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council were Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

In a speech to the assembly, Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Valero condemned the NATO operation in Libya that led to Gaddafi's overthrow as interference in a sovereign country.

He added that "horrendous and wide-ranging violations of human rights have taken place (in Libya, including) ... the macabre assassination of the Libya leader."

Envoys from Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua echoed Valero's remarks, suggesting that Libya's National Transitional Council is not a legitimate government.

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