UN Rights Council Condemns Libyan Regime As Violence Escalates

02/25/2011 04:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

International diplomats unanimously condemned the Libyan government on Friday during an emergency U.N. Human Rights council meeting in Geneva.

The Associated Press reports the leaders also ordered an investigation into Muammar Gaddafi's crackdown on protestors in his country and recommended that Libya be suspended from the 47-nation council.

Fred Abrahams, a Special Advisor at Human Rights Watch, told The Huffington Post the council's resolution against Libya is considered "a big development" and said Libya's confirmed suspension from the council was likely the next move.

The decision comes after days of escalating violence in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, and surrounding areas in western Libya, including Zawiya.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay told the council, "Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have been reportedly used indiscriminately to attack the protesters. According to some sources, thousands may have been killed or injured."

Tom Malinowski, foreign policy expert and Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, acknowledged reports of increasing demonstrations in Tripoli but stressed there are still few details.

A Libyan citizen living in the U.S. has been in constant contact with his family in Tripoli and told The Huffington Post demonstrators in the city took to the streets again after Friday mosque services.

The young man, who wishes to remain anonymous in order to protect his family, claims the renewed demonstrations were partly in response to the message delivered during worship services.

"I'm told the government forced all the imams to give a message that basically said 'When people don't like their ruler, they should be patient and not take up swords against them,'" he said.

Witnesses report that the demonstrators in Tripoli were met with gunfire.

"After services people began demonstrating again and were mowed down with no mercy," the young man said. "There is so much gunfire in the streets it's hard to make any kind of progress."

Malinowski said in contrast to the events unfolding in the western part of the country, the eastern region of Libya, which has been under the control of the anti-Gaddafi demonstrators for several days, is "functioning very well right now."

"The folks in Benghazi are extremely joyful," he said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

"People are very organized, electricity is working, shops are open, local committees are set up in the towns we passed through. People are deliriously happy but nervous at what Gaddafi might do."

Malinowski hopes Friday's developments will pressure the international community to take further decisive action.

"It's a time to throw every dart that we have at the dartboard," he urged. "Sanctions, freezing accounts, pursuing investigations leading to holding leaders accountable, beginning to plan military contingencies such as a no-fly zone and naval blockades if Gaddafi holds on and begins striking out at the population in the eastern areas."

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