Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, In an Explanation of Vote on Resolution 1970

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
February 26, 2011


Thank you, Madame President.  When atrocities are committed against innocents, the international community must speak with one voice and today, it has. Tonight, acting under Chapter VII, the Security Council has come together to condemn the violence, pursue accountability, and adopt biting sanctions, targeting Libya’s unrepentant leadership. This is a clear warning to the Libyan government: that it must stop the killing. 

Those who slaughter civilians will be held personally accountable. The international community will not tolerate violence of any sort against the Libyan people by their government or security forces.

Resolution 1970 is a strong resolution.  It includes a travel ban and an asset freeze for key Libyan leaders. It imposes a complete arms embargo on Libya. It takes new steps against the use of mercenaries by the Libyan government to attack its own people. And for the first time ever, the Security Council has unanimously referred an egregious human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. 

As President Obama said today, when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule—and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.

The protests in Libya are being driven by the people of Libya. This is about people’s ability to shape their own future, wherever they may be. It is about human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Security Council has acted today to support the Libyan people’s universal rights. These rights are not negotiable. They cannot be denied. Libya’s leaders will be held accountable for violating these rights and for failing to meet their most basic responsibilities to their people.


PRN: 2011/034