Security Council to scope Libya sanctions

Feb. 25, 2011 at 10:48 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A U.N. panel Friday condemned the Libyan government's violence against its own people and recommended Libya's U.N. membership be suspended.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said United States backs the strong action by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which also established an independent commission to investigate the alleged human rights violations. She said the U.S. mission at the United Nations was working with partners in the General Assembly to build support for a resolution to pull Libya's membership.

"These steps underscore the international community's profound concern about the abuses in Libya, and we urge all nations to speak with one voice in support of universal human rights," Clinton said in a release. "That includes an immediate end to Libyan government violence against the Libyan people and support for the universal rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and self-determination."

The U.N. Security Council is to meet in emergency session Saturday to take up possible sanctions and other ways of halting the ongoing violence in Libya.

The Washington Post reported European U.N. officials were circulating a draft resolution that would impose international economic sanctions on Libya and specifically target its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, his sons and close aides with a travel ban and asset freeze.

An arms embargo also would be invoked and the International Criminal Court would be urged to investigate "crimes against humanity" in Libya.

In an emergency session Tuesday, the Security Council condemned the violence that has spread across Libya since peaceful protesters demanded the ouster of the Libyan strongman. The council called for "an immediate end" to the brutality and demanded Libya take "steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue."

Because Libya ignored the council's Tuesday demand, "concrete measures are now necessary, notably to permit immediate access to humanitarian assistance and to sanction those responsible for the violence against Libya's civilian population," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement posted on the mission's Web site.

Sarkozy was one of three European leaders U.S. President Barack Obama called Thursday to seek urgent ways of ensuring "appropriate accountability" for the Libyan government.

The other two were British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday called on the Security Council to consider immediately concrete steps against the Gadhafi regime, which has inflicted hundreds, and possibly thousands of casualties on demonstrators seeking democratic freedoms.

"In these circumstances, the loss of time means more loss of lives," Ban said. "It is time for the Security Council to consider concrete action.

"When a state is manifestly failing to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community has the responsibility to step in and take protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner. The violence must stop. Those responsible for so brutally shedding the blood of innocents must be punished. Fundamental human rights must be respected."

The draft resolution includes "specific targeted measures aimed at putting an end to violence, helping achieve a peaceful solution to the current crisis, ensuring accountability and respecting the will of the Libyan people," the council President Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil told reporters.

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