UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council

New York: The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday suspended Russia’s membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council due to its gross violations of human rights and alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

A US-led resolution received 93 votes in favour of it, while 24 countries voted against the move and 58 countries abstained. A 2/3 majority was enough for the UN General Assembly to strip Russia of its membership in the Human Rights Council.

After abstaining from the previous two General Assembly votings, Russia’s partner China opposed the resolution on Thursday. But, the opposition was not enough to counter the move.

However, responding to the move, Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin termed it an “illegitimate and politically motivated step” and then announced that Russia had decided to quit the Human Rights Council altogether.

It is pertinent to know that Russia is only the second country to have its membership rights stripped by the rights council. The other, Libya, was suspended in 2011 by the assembly when upheaval in the North African country brought down longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the vote “a historic moment,” telling the assembly: “We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored” and that Russia must be held accountable “for this unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable war.”

United States President Joe Biden said the vote demonstrated how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war “has made Russia an international pariah.”

Biden pledged to continue working with other nations to gather evidence to hold Russia accountable, increase the pressure on its economy and isolate it on the international stage.

Meanwhile, China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said that such a move would further aggravate the division among member states.

“Such a hasty move at the General Assembly, which forces countries to choose sides, will aggravate the division among member states and intensify the confrontation between the parties concerned – it is like adding fuel to the fire.”

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