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UN Council to Praise Libya's Human Rights Record


As the international community feverishly condemns the atrocious treatment of pro-democracy protesters by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the United Nations Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a report which praises the country's human rights record.

The U.N. review commends Libya for making human rights a "priority" while improving the country's education system and "constitutional" framework.  Several countries -- including Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan -- offer positive marks for the country now facing historic political turmoil.

Fox News reports:

The U.S. mission in Geneva said it would look into the status of the document in response to a question about whether any efforts are being made to cancel or postpone consideration of the report. But an agenda put out by the United Nations in January said the Human Rights Council, of which Libya has been a member since last year, will "consider and adopt" the document at its session, which is under way and continues to the end of March.

UN Watch, a watchdog group based in Geneva, called on the council Monday to withdraw the report and launch a new review that "would tell the truth about the (Qaddafi) regime's heinous crimes."

UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer told the review, formally known as the Universal Periodic Review, is a "complete distortion" of Libya's rights record. "The review is supposed to be a serious examination of a country's human rights record to hold it accountable," Neuer said. "All they do is give praise and give cover to Libya's abuses."

The report -- put together after a November 2010 session, months before protesters challenged Qaddafi's legitimacy and prompted an historic confrontation with his regime -- includes dozens of recommendations for how Libya can improve human rights. But it also includes pages of commentary, mostly positive, from the other 46 delegations to the controversial Human Rights Council.

The United States is a new member of the Human Rights Council, having boycotted the body during the George W. Bush administration for being anti-Israel and prone to ignore certain human rights violations on political grounds.  President Obama reversed this policy in 2009 and sent a U.S. delegation to Geneva.

While the U.N.'s General Assembly is poised to vote on a broader resolution condemning the Gaddafi regime, the U.S. called on Libya to "comply with its human rights treaty obligations" in the Human Rights Council report.  In addition, the U.S. expressed concerns over Libyans limited freedom of speech and reported torture of prisoners.

On Monday, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called Gaddafi "delusional," adding that his regime is "slaughtering his own people" and should be "held accountable" for the continuing human rights violations.

"In Libya, the United Nations is demonstrating the indispensable role that it can play in advancing our interests and defending our values," Rice said.

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