Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly suspended Russia on Thursday from his seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council because’invasion of Ukraine, in a vote that received 93 votes and reflected an erosion of international unity in Moscow’s face. Of the 193 member states of the General Assembly, 24 voted against this suspension – the second in UN history after the expulsion of Libya in 2011 – initiated by the United States. And 58 countries abstained, but the abstentions, a choice denounced by Kiev, failed to take into account the required two-thirds majority of the only votes for and against.

The Kremlin will “continue to defend its interests”

The Kremlin on Thursday deplored Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council and warned that Moscow intended “to continue to defend its interests by all legal means”. “We are sorry and we will continue to defend our interests by all legal means and explain ourselves,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News.

China denounces ‘hasty approach’

Among the countries that voted against is China, which denounced a “hasty approach”, the “oil on the fire” and a “dangerous precedent”. Iran, Kazakhstan and Cuba also voted against. Unsurprisingly, Russia, Belarus and Syria opposed the proposed resolution on the vote. Despite pressure from Moscow on countries to vote against in recent days, several African states, including South Africa and Senegal, have chosen to abstain. Council.

Brazil, like Mexico and India, all three currently non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, has taken the same abstention position. Chile, on the other hand, voted in favour. According to Washington, Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council sitting in Geneva is far more than symbolic and increases Moscow’s “isolation” on the international stage since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Russia Intermittent Member since 2006

Russia is accused of war crimes and abuse of civilians in the Ukrainian territories it has occupied, such as Boutcha, who hastened Washington’s move to have the country suspended from the Human Rights Council. Moscow has been an intermittent member of the Council since 2006 as only two terms in a row are allowed for its members. The current term ends in 2023. Ukraine is one of the current members of the Council.

The resolution passed by the General Assembly on Thursday recalls that it “may suspend the rights of membership of the Human Rights Council of any member of the Council who commits flagrant and systematic violations of human rights”. It expresses the “deep concern” of the General Assembly “at the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ukraine, especially in light of reports of violations and violations of human rights”, sometimes “systematic”, and “violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation”.

Ukraine “grateful”

Ukraine said Thursday it was “grateful” for the decision to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, saying “war criminals” should not be represented there. “War criminals have no place in UN bodies responsible for protecting human rights,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba tweeted.

The Council’s mission is to promote human rights

The Human Rights Council is the main UN forum responsible for promoting this area. It was established in 2006 and consists of 47 member states elected by the United Nations General Assembly. In addition to promoting human rights, its mission is to regularly assess their situation in UN member states. The Council may also address any question or situation related to human rights that so requires, including during exceptional meetings that may be convened as a matter of urgency. This has been especially true of the situation in Ukraine lately, despite opposition from Moscow or Ethiopia.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UN General Assembly has discussed the war three times, including Thursday’s vote. On March 2, in a first historic vote, 141 countries had condemned the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, 5 countries voted against (in addition to Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea), 35 refrain. On March 24, the General Assembly called for unfettered humanitarian access and the protection of civilians in Ukraine. During the vote, 140 countries voted in favour, five against (the same five as on March 2) and 38 countries abstained.