Canada Applauds Suspension of Libya from UN Human Rights Council

(No. 87 - March 1, 2011 - 8:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today applauded the decision of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council. 

"There is no longer a place in the world or in our time for megalomaniacal and bloodthirsty dictators,” said Minister Cannon. "The international community has witnessed appalling images from Libya as the Qadhafi regime carried out brutal attacks against its own people.

"It would be an affront to the courageous people of Libya for the Qadhafi regime to continue to have a voice on the Human Rights Council. This would dishonour the memory of those who have sacrificed their lives to demand freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

"The Human Rights Council is no place for a regime that commits gross violations of human rights. The General Assembly today adopted by consensus Resolution A/RES/65/265, which suspends Libya’s rights of membership in the UN Human Rights Council."

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1970, also related to the situation in Libya. Canada has been among the first countries to implement the binding obligations called for in the Security Council’s resolution and has already taken urgent steps to implement that resolution, including a freeze on assets and a ban on travel by the members of the Qadhafi regime.

"In recent days, I have discussed the horrendous human rights situation in Libya with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton," said Minister Cannon. "Yesterday in Geneva, I met with British foreign secretary William Hague, Australian foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd and Mexican foreign secretary Patricia Espinosa, and earlier in Rome with Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini. I also met with Indian minister of external affairs S.M. Krishna, Kuwaiti deputy prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Mohamed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and secretary-general of the Arab League Amr Moussa.

"While we are all committed to an international response to these abuses, my foremost objective has been to ensure the safe evacuation of Canadians from Libya.

"We have called on the Libyan government to facilitate the departures of foreign nationals caught up in this crisis. We have evacuated nearly 300 Canadians and helped a number of third-party nationals to leave Libya, and we will continue to cooperate with others to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and others affected by this crisis.‪"

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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