The International community can no longer ignore the gross human rights violations taking place in Libya. Over the last few weeks Moammer Gaddafi’s forces have killed over 1,000 pro democracy protestors. Evidence of Gaddafi’s brutal regime is mounting, and Gaddafi’s failure to protect the civilian population is being deemed an atrocious crime against humanity. This past Saturday, the UN Security Council decided to refer the Libyan crisis to the International Criminal Court on these very grounds.
Gaddafi, living in delusion, insists that there is no revolution in Libya and that the protestors are members of Al Qaeda who have managed to infiltrate the country. In fact, in a recent interview with CBS, Gaddafi insisted his people loved him and would do anything to protect him.
Gaddafi also emphasized that he cannot step down as the leader because he is not officially the president of the country. He may not have an official title, but he undoubtedly has all the power. Nonetheless, he smugly asks what he is to step down from exactly? Gaddafi conveniently ignores the fact that his forces have run the country for the last four decades, and that he represents Libya in every international context including the United Nations.
Today, the United Nations General Assembly suspended Libya from the UN Human Rights Council for committing “gross and systematic violations of human rights.” The decision to suspend Libya was through consensus rather than a two-thirds majority vote, which is generally how resolutions are passed in the UN. A consensus is easier to obtain and becomes effective as long as there is no known opposition from any UN members.
This is an unprecedented decision for the UN. Libya is first nation the UN has ever expelled since its formation in 1945. The decision to suspend Libya does not mean that Libya is permanently removed from the UN, it simply means the country cannot participate until the General Assembly restores its full status.
Despite the increasing pressure from all sides, Gaddafi is still desperately clinging to power while the Libyan people struggle to attain their most basic necessities. However, even in the face of adversity, the Libyan spirit and resilience is evident as pro democracy protestors march on risking their lives for a cause they believe in.