UN Rights Body to Debate Expelling Libya Over Violent Crackdown on Protesters

U.S. says it supports expelling Libya from UN Human Rights Council over the government's violent attempt to crush protests against Gadhafi.

The United Nations Human Rights committee is set to convene an emergency session on Friday in Geneva to discuss whether to suspend Libya over possible crimes against humanity.

This is the first time that the committee, comprised of 47 nations, would discuss suspending one of its own member nations.

The European Union is also pushing the council to approve a UN-led probe into gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities and to condemn the violence against protesters demonstrating against longtime leader Muammar Gadhafi.

The United States said on Thursday it supported expelling Libya from the Human Rights Council, saying the government had violated the rights of its people in trying to crush protests against Gadhafi.

Men carry a coffin at Al-Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the administration backs the European proposal for the 47-nation council to recommend Libya's expulsion. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss administration planning, also said the U.S. would support efforts to establish a UN-led probe into human rights violations by the Libyan authorities.

Council members were debating the resolution Thursday in Geneva, ahead of Friday's emergency session. Expelling Libya would require two-thirds approval of all the 192 countries in the United Nations.

"We support expelling Libya from the Human Rights Council," Crowley told reporters at the State Department. "The Libyan government has violated the rights of its people. Taking this step continues the increased isolation that the Libyan government is facing."

Hundreds are believed to have been killed in Libya in recent days and Gadhafi's regime appears to have lost control of large parts of the country.