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U.S. Welcomes Reinstatement of Libya’s Membership Rights in the U.N. Human Rights Council
November 18, 2011

Human Rights Council (archive photo)

U.S. Welcomes Reinstatement of Libya’s Membership Rights in the U.N. Human Rights Council

Friday, November 18, 2011

Statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

The United States welcomes the reinstatement today of Libya’s membership rights in the United Nations Human Rights Council.  The resolution adopted this morning by the United Nations General Assembly was based on commitments made by the new Libyan government to uphold its obligations under international human rights law, to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to cooperate with relevant international human rights mechanisms, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council.

Nine months ago, at an urgent session of the HRC addressing the unfolding human rights crisis in Libya, HRC members passed a consensus resolution to recommend suspension of Libya’s membership rights in the Human Rights Council.  Action by the General Assembly followed within days.   This marked an unprecedented move by the General Assembly and a turning point for the HRC:  it was the first time membership rights of a sitting member were stripped due to systematic violations of human rights.

Today we have come full circle.  The conflict in Libya has ended and the National Transitional Council has been recognized by the United Nations as the legal representative of Libya.  This is a moment of great promise and also immense challenge for Libya.  The eyes of the world are focused on Tripoli as the new leadership strives to establish a democratic government that provides freedom, dignity and security to all Libyans.

My delegation and I look forward to working with the representatives of a truly liberated Libya at the Human Rights Council. The United States calls on Libya’s new leadership and the civil society they now represent to live up fully to their human rights commitments.   As Libya embarks on a new era and begins building the institutions necessary for the respect and defense of human rights for the future, it is now more essential than ever that representatives of the new government are part of the international discourse on human rights.