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Lybia: another unholy candidate to the UN Human Rights Council

Sunday 16 May 2010, by siawi2 (Date of earlier publishing: 16 May 2010).

Sign-on letter Opposing Libya’s candidacy to the HRC

Dear colleagues,

The Democracy Coalition Project and the Open Society Institute have drafted a letter (below and attached) which opposes Libya’s candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council due to its failure to meet the standards for membership, and its very poor record on human rights at the domestic, regional, and international levels.

Despite the lack of competing candidates at this time, we will be calling on states to vote against Libya as we have done in previous years for those candidates that fall in the same category. As with Sri Lanka, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China, Russia, and most recently, Iran, we will be asking states to vote NO on Libya on May 13 in order to suppress its votes as much as possible and uphold the integrity of the election process.

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May 3, 2010

Your Excellency,

We write to you today to express deep concern regarding the candidacy of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council was overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly in March 2006. The resolution instructs member States to “take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto” when electing members of the council. The resolution also requires that council members “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” and “fully cooperate with the Council.” To help prevent the election of states which do not meet these standards, the General Assembly requires that an absolute majority of its members (currently 97 states) affirmatively support a candidate before it can be elected to the Council.

Our organizations believe that Libya fails to meet the standards of membership to the Council both due to its record of serious violations of human rights, and its record of non-cooperation with the human rights mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. Furthermore, the Libyan government’s role in providing support to Africa’s worst human rights abusive regimes over decades casts a dark shadow on its candidacy. Libya’s international human rights record similarly stands out as among the poorest on a broad range of issues that make up the international human rights agenda.

We urge your government to withhold its vote from Libya on May 13 as it clearly fails to meet the standards for membership to the Council. We believe that despite the absence of competing candidates at this time, it is critical that the UN General Assembly uphold the standards it set for the body when creating the Council. In 2006, the UNGA initiated reform of the election process to ensure the new Council was able to carry out its mandate to effectively address violations of human rights. It is time to uphold that commitment by voting against Libya and denying it a seat on the body.

With assurances of our highest respect,