Libya UN rights Council AP
Eileen Donahoe, U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council speaks with Adel Shaltut, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Feb. 25, 2011. Photo by AP
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The empty seats of the Libyan delegation are pictured before the Human Rights Council holds a Special Session on the situation of the human rights situation in the Libya, in Geneva, Feb. 25, 2011. Photo by AP

The Libyan Mission to the United Nations in Geneva on Friday resigned their post as official envoys of Tripoli in the middle of a special session of the UN Human Rights Council.

"We in the Libyan Mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will," said an envoy during the session. "We represent only the Libyan people."

Diplomats in the hall erupted into applause at the surprise announcement by Adel Shaltut, a diplomat at the Libyan delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, during a special session on the Libyan crisis.

Meanwhile, the Libyan delegation to the Arab League in Cairo renounced links to Muammar Gadhafi on Friday and said it now represented the will of the people.

"We have joined our people in their legitimate demands for change and the establishment of a democratic system," the Libyan delegation to the Arab League said in a statement, condemning "the heinous crimes against unarmed citizens".

The Libyan delegation to the Arab League has changed its name to "the representative of Libyan people to the Arab League," Ahmed Nassouf, Deputy Director of Protocol, told

 The United Nation's top human rights official said reports of mass killings of thousands in Libya should spur the international community to step in vigorously to end the crackdown against anti-government protesters in the North African country.

Meanwhile,  EU members agreed on a package of sanctions against Libya, the German Foreign Office said Friday. The formal decision will be taken next week.

Earlier, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay implored the UN Human Rights Council to use all means possible to establish an independent panel to investigate the alleged abuses by Libyan security forces and hold those responsible to account.

Observers of the Geneva-based council say African and Asian nations are wary of setting too strong a precedent that could be used against other human rights abusing regimes in future.

Suspending Libya's rights of membership under the rules for the council would require two-thirds approval of all the 192 countries in the UN General Assembly in New York.

Human rights activists said they expect a strongly worded resolution to pass, though it might be watered down by efforts to achieve the broadest possible consensus.

The UN Security Council also planned to meet later Friday in New York to consider actions against Gadhafi's regime.