March 2, 2011
Statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
on the UN General Assembly Suspension of Libya’s Human Rights Council Membership
We applaud the vote of the UN General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership rights in the Human Rights Council. Yesterday’s action in New York represents the first time any country serving on the Human Rights Council, or the Commission before it, has had its membership suspended. This action follows upon the concrete steps the Council took on Friday, which included a clear condemnation of Libyan human rights abuses and the creation of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate those abuses.
When I arrived in Geneva a little over a year ago I came with a determination to carry out President Obama’s agenda to ensure the Human Rights Council is a key and credible player in the defense of human rights and human rights defenders around the world. We are encouraged that the international community has spoken with one voice to say that serious human rights violations committed by the Qadhafi government against the Libyan people will not be tolerated. Through multilateral action we were able to speak with a clear, decisive and unified international voice.
The defense of human rights is a job never finished. The United States will continue to speak out forcefully for the defense of human rights and human rights defenders globally and we will continue to work with the international community on additional steps to hold the Qadhafi government accountable for their actions as the Libyan people pursue a transition to democracy.