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UN General Assembly Resolves to Suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

UN General Assembly Resolves to Suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on April 2 calling for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council.

The resolution received a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, minus abstentions, with 93 in favor and 24 opposed, out of 193 member countries.

Fifty-eight countries abstained.

Voting against the proposal were Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Vietnam.

Abstaining were India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

This meeting was held in response to the resumed emergency special session on the war in Ukraine and reports of violations by the Russian military.

This past weekend, disturbing photos were released from Bucha, a suburb of the capital Kiev, where hundreds of civilian bodies were found in the streets and mass graves after the Russian withdrawal.

Prior to the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kishlitsa urged countries to support the resolution.

In Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted, and deprived by the Russian military, an example of how far the Russian Federation has strayed from its original declarations in the area of human rights. That is why this case is unique and the response today is obvious and self-evident," he said.

The member states are.Human Rights CouncilThis is not the first time that the country has been suspended from membership in the Libya lost its seat in 2011 following a crackdown on protests by ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later overthrown.

In his remarks before the vote, Deputy Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin called on countries to "vote against any attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy existing human rights structures."

Similarities with Rwanda

The vote took place on the anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the Ukrainian ambassador drew parallels with this dark page in recent history.

"The genocide in Rwanda, exactly one year before the tragedy commemorated on this very day, the United Nations(UN) Security CouncilThe world community's indifference is largely due to the fact that they did not respond to the warnings of the United Nations and the General Assembly." Kislyza said.

Today, in Ukraine, not even a year has passed." "Because the tragedy is unfolding before our eyes right now."

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations presents a draft resolution to the General Assembly's Eleventh Special Session of the Emergency Session of the General Assembly at its Tenth Session.
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
United Nations Permanent Representative to Ukraine Sergiy Kishlitsya presents a draft resolution during the General Assembly's 11th Emergency Special Session on Ukraine.

reason for suspension

The UN Human Rights Council consists of 47 members and is headquartered in Geneva.

Russia will join in January 2021 as one of 15 countries elected by the General Assembly to serve a three-year term.

Under the Council's founding resolution of 2006, the General Assembly may suspend a country's membership if it commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.

Russia withdraws from the Council.

After the adoption of the resolution, Deputy Kuzmin abruptly stated that Russia had already decided that day to leave the Council before the end of its term.

Deputy Kuzmin argued that the Security Council is monopolized by a few countries that use it for short-term purposes.

These countries have been directly involved in or abetting blatant and massive human rights violations for years," he said through an interpreter.

"While a member of the Council, they are not prepared to sacrifice short-term political and economic interests in favor of genuine cooperation and the stabilization of the human rights situation in certain countries."

The General Assembly resolves to suspend Russia's Human Rights Council membership. Gennadiy Kuzmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
The General Assembly voted to suspend Russia's Human Rights Council membership. Photo shows Gennady Kuzmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia, at the end of the row on the right.

A "dangerous precedent": China.

China was one of the countries that voted against the resolution. Ambassador Zhang Shun is concerned that the hasty move by the General Assembly is like "pouring oil on the fire" and will exacerbate divisions, intensify conflict, and jeopardize peace efforts.

He said, "Treating the members of the Human Rights Council in this way would set a new and dangerous precedent, further escalate conflicts in the human rights field, and have serious consequences with far-reaching implications for the UN governance system."

EU praised for "rare decision

For the European Union, the scale and gravity of Russia's violations in Ukraine and the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty demand a strong and unified international response.

Ambassador Olaf Skoog, head of the EU delegation, said, "This rare decision taken by the General Assembly today sends a strong signal of accountability and is expected to help prevent and deter further human rights violations."

A Step in the Right Direction: United States

The United States was the last country to speak at the day-long meeting.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield described the adoption of the resolution as a "significant and historic moment." The resolution is important not only in terms of accountability to Russia, but also in terms of walking alongside the Ukrainian people, she said.

Today, the international community took a collective step in the right direction." We have ensured that persistent and egregious human rights violators will not be allowed to occupy leadership positions on human rights at the United Nations," said Ms. Thomas-Greenfield.

Let us continue to hold Russia accountable for this unjust, unjust, and unjust war and do everything in our power to stand with the Ukrainian people."

UN News