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Human Rights Council Condemnation Sets Needed Precedent

B’nai B’rith International welcomes the unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 26 that will impose military and financial sanctions on Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and his most trusted advisors.

The arms embargo included in the sanctions package could help prevent Gaddafi and his loyalists from restocking the supplies it has used in a deadly force campaign against opponents.

“For 41 years, Gaddafi brutally suppressed the people of Libya and waged a terror campaign around the world,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “People need protection when their own government turns on them. In using deadly force against his own people as they rose up to protest his repressive government, Gaddafi has once again, but perhaps for the last time, proven he is unfit to lead Libya.”

The Security Council sanctions came a day after the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) condemned Gaddafi and his government for the crackdown. B’nai B’rith spoke out last year when Libya won a seat on the council, noting that only those with a satisfactory record on human rights should be considered fit to serve on the council. B’nai B’rith has long maintained that UNHRC members should demonstrate respect for universal human rights—values Libya did not display then and certainly does not exhibit now.

“It was always an affront to human rights that Libya held a seat on an international panel meant to protect human rights,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Though long overdue, the council’s action is a welcome move that could finally focus attention on some of the other obviously questionable members of that panel.”

A B’nai B’rith International delegation will be in Geneva for UNHRC meetings the week of March 7.

As events continue to unfold in Libya, B’nai B’rith, active at the U.N. since its inception, will continue to urge the stay on the top of the situation and pressure Gaddafi to end the brutality he has visited on his own people.