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Libyan envoy tells U.N. rights forum he serves 'free will' of his people

posted 25 Feb 2011, 13:07 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 25 Feb 2011, 13:10 ]

The Libyan envoy to the United Nations in Geneva tells the Human Rights Council that he represent the free will of the Libyan people as his U.S. counterpart during an emergency session confirms the U.S. will support Libya suspension from the Council.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (FEBRUARY 25, 2011) REUTERS - The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday (February 25) called on the U.N. General Assembly to consider suspending Libya's membership rights in the Geneva forum in view of "gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities."

The United States ambassador to the United Nations office in Geneva walked out of the Human Rights' Council emergency session held earlier on Friday after giving a speech strongly supporting the resolution that would suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council.

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the United States representative at the emergency session described Libya as an extreme outlier of the international community.

"It's an extreme case and it is significantly different that the case of Tunisia or Egypt, where the result, comparatively came out relatively well, and ultimately the voice of the people dominated and triumphed. That has not been the case in Libya. And the reason we are here is because the Libyan authorities have shown themselves to be an extreme outlier in the international community in terms of violating the rights of their own people, and it is our responsibility to stand up in support of the people when their voices are not being respected by their own authorities," said Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.

Libya's envoy on Friday told the U.N. Human Rights Council that the entire delegation henceforth only represents the "free will" of the Libyan people.

Adel Shaltut, a diplomat at the Libyan delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, made the surprise announcement to the 47-member forum, during the special session on the Libyan crisis.

"Mr President, I wish to emphasise and underscore that we in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as the representatives of the Libyan people and their free will. We only represent the Libyan people. We will serve as their representative in this august body and in other international fora," Adel Shaltut said.

Diplomats in the hall erupted into applause at the announcement, which the Thai president of the Council praised as a "difficult decision".

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe shook hands with the Libyan envoy and was heard to pledge Washington's support.

Adel Shaltut left the Council session after his speech, declining to comment any further.

The emergency session of the U.N. Human Rights Council was convened in Geneva to examine the grave situation in the North African country, whose leader Muammar Gaddafi is clinging to power.

Western powers including the United States and France put under challenge Libya's membership of the 47-member state forum at the special session.