United Nations, Mar 2 : The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously voted to suspend Libya from the UN Human Rights Council in the wake of continuing attacks on pro-democracy protesters there by Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
"Expressing deep concern about the human rights situation" in Libya, the General Assembly "decides to suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council" of the African nation, the brief resolution said.
US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice pointed that this is for the first time a country has been suspended by the General Assembly. "This is a harsh rebuke, but one that Libya's leaders have brought down upon themselves."
"When the only way a leader can cling to power is by grossly and systematically violating his own people's human rights, he has lost any legitimacy to rule," she said.
"He (Gaddafi) must go, and he must go now."Last week, UN Human Rights Council in Geneva decided to suspend Libya's membership from the 47-nation body.However, this decision was needed to be approved by two-thirds of the 192-member General Assembly.
While it did not vote against the resolution,Venezuela was the only country to express reservations about the suspension."A decision such as this one could only take place after a genuine investigation," Jorge Valero Briceno,Venezuelan envoy for the UN, told the General Assembly.
On Saturday, the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution ordering an arms embargo, a travel ban and assets freeze against Gaddafi and his supporters. The 15-member body also referred the recent events in Libya to the International Criminal Court.
The United States and European Union have also approved sanctions against Gaddafi.In his speech, Briceno accused the US of having "imperialistic" designs in Libya.
"The Security Council resolution, however, has not authorized military intervention," he said. "Yet an imperialist country is unilaterally and visibly deploying its
military and nuclear machinery in order to carry out an armed attack against Libya."
In response, Rice called Briceno "delusional.""The Venezuelan Perm Rep's comments were ugly and reprehensible and I think I dealt with them emphatically in
the chamber," she told journalists. "And, you know, he can live in the fantasy world that he apparently does." PTI