United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stepped up her call for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to go - now.
In a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Mrs Clinton denounced Colonel Gaddafi's use of what she described as mercenaries and thugs to suppress the Libyan people.
She urged the international community to coordinate its efforts to help remove him.
"Gaddafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency," she said.
"It is time for Gaddafi to go, now, without further violence or delay."
Mrs Clinton said the Libyan protesters were "braving the dictator's bullets and putting their lives on the line to enjoy the freedoms that are the birthright of every man, woman and child on Earth".
She also said that although US naval vessels are being repositioned near Libya, no military action is pending.
EU approves sanctions
The European Union has approved a package of sanctions banning the sale of military equipment from Libya and freezing the assets of Colonel Gaddafi and his immediate family.
The United States, Britain and Switzerland have already agreed to similar sanctions.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says his government is considering a plan to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.