The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the use of force against peaceful demonstrators in Libya and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
Demanding an immediate end to violence in the north African country, the 15-nation council, including India in a statement called for "steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue."
The Security Council "condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians."
The council "strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country," according to the statement.
The statement was issued after a closed-door meeting, which was briefed by B Lynn Pascoe, UN under-secretary general for political affairs, and Libya's envoy to the UN Mohammed Shalgam.
After the statement was issued, Rosemary DiCarlo, US deputy envoy to the UN, said, "Today, the international community has said in one clear and unified voice that it condemns the violence against civilians in Libya, that the violence must cease immediately."
The UN also welcomed the statement issued by the Arab League, which barred Libya from Arab League meetings until it stopped attacking its own people.
Libyan authorities have acknowledged at least 300 dead in the past week, but rights groups say the toll could be as high as 400.
Navi Pillay, UN human rights chief, has also blasted the crackdown by the Moamer Gaddafi-led Libyan regime and called for an independent investigation into crimes that may have been committed.
"The international community must unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure justice is rendered to the thousands of victims of this repression," she said.
Following the ouster of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, large-scale protests have erupted in several countries in the region including Bahrain, Yemen and Libya. Libya, however, has responded with an extreme show of force.
International censure against Gaddafi escalated after reports that the regime was firing at the protesters from war planes.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described this as "outrageous." In a letter to the UNSC, Libya's deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who had demanded Gaddafi's resignation, has called for a non fly zone to be established over Libya and a humanitarian corridor to be established.
Earlier, Gadhafi, the Arab world's longest-serving ruler, had said that he would die as a martyr rather than give up power.