UN Human Rights Council meets over Libya

civilians fleeing Libya

civilians fleeing Libya

The UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva on Monday to consider its next move against Libya. The countries leadership is under fire for its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. Foreign Ministers from around the world discussed what the political and humanitarian response should be, with most saying Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi must go.  Julie Walker reports.

Narrator: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, once again urged the international community attending the opening session of the 16th meeting of the Human Rights Council to put pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi to respect his people who are calling for change and to end the on-going violence in his country. The UN estimates more than 1000 people have been killed.

Pillay: “The Council should not relax its vigilance over Libya as the threat of violent reprisals against civilians still looms.”

Narrator: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Qadhafi must be held accountable for the deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters. She also told the council that Qadhafi’s is using ‘mercenaries and thugs’ against his own people and it’s time for him to go.

Clinton: “As we move forward on these fronts, we will continue to explore all possible options for action. As we have said, nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyans. Ultimately, the people of Libya themselves will be the ones to chart their own destiny and shape their own new government,”

Narrator: Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech urged the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on the Libyan air force, which has reportedly been firing on protesters. On Saturday, the council imposed sanctions on Libya including freezing the Ghdafi family assets along with those of top aides, imposing a travel ban and an arms embargo. The measure also calls for the International Criminal Court to look into possible crimes against humanity. But Rudd says the sanctions don’t go far enough.

Rudd: “We argue for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya …Guernica”

Narrator: Meanwhile, the European Union is imposing its own sanctions on Gadhafi, including an arms embargo and a visa ban. EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton told the council the measures are meant to bolster those of the Security Council.

Ashton : “The massive violence against peaceful demonstrators shocks our conscience. It should also spring us into action,”

Narrator: The Human Rights Council will continue meeting over the next four weeks with member states and top officials. While Libya is a member, the council has asked the UN General Assembly to remove the country. Julie Walker, United Nations.

duration:  2’55″

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