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UN suspends Libya from rights council

The UN General Assembly voted Tuesday to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official websites] in response to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters by forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile]. The resolution [UN News Centre report], adopted by consensus, came at the request of the UNHRC itself, which voted last week in favor of a resolution condemning the violence [JURIST report]. The UN Security Council has already voted to impose sanctions on Gaddafi, marking the first unanimous referral [JURIST report] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] in UN history.

On Monday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said that the court will not grant immunity [JURIST report] to any person perpetrating crimes against humanity in Libya. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] spoke to the UNHRC [JURIST report] last week, calling for the Libyan government to stop the violence directed at protesters [transcript] and for the Council to rise to action. The protests began last month following those that have occurred throughout the Middle East and North Africa [BBC backgrounder], resulting in the resignations of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST reports]. Protesters have demanded Gaddafi's resignation and government reform.

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