American Jewish Committee Urges UN: Suspend Libya From Human Rights Council

AJC Director David Harris' Gadhafi regime’s widespread use of brutal force against protesters makes a mockery of the council.

The American Jewish Committee called Monday on the United Nations General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership from the UN Human Rights Council in light of the recent human rights violations in the country.

“The Gadhafi regime’s widespread use of brutal force against protesters makes a mockery of the UN Human Rights Council,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

Libya protests - Reuters - Feb. 17, 2011

“Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council is clearly incompatible with the noble aims of the world body, as enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other relevant human rights instruments,” said Harris. “We count on the U.S., EU and other like-minded democratic nations truly committed to the protection of human rights – and the good name of the UN – to take the lead at the General Assembly on this pressing issue.”

Al-Jazeera reported Monday that the Libyan air force bombed protesters who were on their way to an army base, according to eyewitness testimony.

Clashes between protesters and security forces in Libya have escalated and spread after several days of violence threatening to topple Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule.
Muammar Gadhafi's son went on state television earlier to proclaim that his father remained in charge with the army's backing and would fight until "the last man, the last woman, the last bullet."

Libya was elected for a three-year term on the Council just under a year ago, with a majority of 155 of 192 members of the voting in favor of the African country's admission.

At the time of the election, AJC declared that “Libya should be the subject of a UN Human Rights Council investigation, not an active member. Libya’s uncontested election demonstrates yet again the current Council’s blithe disregard for consistently upholding the human rights clauses of the UN Charter.”

“Our words just a few months ago ring all the more true today,” Harris said. “The world must not stand by while hundreds of people are being systematically killed, and many more brutalized and threatened as Gadhafi seeks to hold to the power he seized nearly 42 years ago.”

“Not calling a special session on Libya will inevitably raise profound questions about the Council’s role in defending universal human rights and avoiding, in the UN resolution’s own words, any semblance of ‘double standards and politicization,’” Harris added.