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United Nations Suspends Russia From Human Rights Council

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On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. This is a result of multiple reports alleging that the Russian military committed atrocities in its war against Ukraine. 

Expectedly, Russia protested its suspension, calling the accusations far from what was actually happening.

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Russia Suspended From Human Rights Council

Conference room XIX in United Nations office | Russia Suspended From Human Rights Council

In a 93-24 vote, the United Nations General Assembly officially suspended Russia from its Human Rights Council. An additional 58 countries decided to abstain from voting.

A draft resolution said the GA can suspend a member if it “commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

In addition, the draft resolution mentioned that the council is gravely concerned about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

It referred to reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law”. Also, the GA pinpointed the perpetrators of these atrocities as members of the Russian Federation military. 

GA Needed Two Thirds Votes to Remove Russia from HRC

The General Assembly managed to solicit two-thirds of the vote among present United Nations members. Apart from suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, the GA can launch a review if necessary.

The vote stemmed from efforts by the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. In fact, the United States and its allies led the petition to remove Russia from the council. 

In addition, Thomas-Greenfield said that Russia shouldn’t be in a council whose single purpose is to promote human rights. “Not only is it the height of hypocrisy — it is dangerous.

Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she added. The US Ambassador argued successfully that the continued presence of Russia in the HRC hurts the body’s credibility. “It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong,” she emphasized. 

Ukraine Campaigned To Suspend Russia From HRC

Earlier, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s UN ambassador, called on member nations to support the move. “Now the world has come to a crucial juncture.

We witness that our liner is going through the treacherous fog towards deadly icebergs. It might seem that we should have named it the Titanic instead of the Human Rights Council, he said. “We need to take an action today to save the council from sinking,” Kyslytsya pleaded. 

In addition, the Ukrainian ambassador equated Russia’s actions “to war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

Kyslytsya acknowledged that suspending a council member from the Human Rights Council is a “rare and extraordinary action”.  However, “Russia’s actions are beyond the pale,” he said. 

Russia Accuses US of United Nations Resolution

Meanwhile, Gennady Kuzmin, the deputy Russian ambassador to the United Nations, opposed moves to suspend his country.

Kuzmin called on member states to reject this resolution, insisting that this would set “a dangerous precedent”. He added that this is not “the time nor the place for theatrics”.

In addition, he described Ukraine’s efforts to suspend Russia as “extremely theatrical performances”. Also, the Russian deputy ambassador insisted that the draft resolution being passed around is inaccurate.

In fact, the resolution’s contents “has no relationship to the actual human rights situation on the ground.” 

Finally, Kuzmin also accused the United States of leading the suspension against Russia to keep its dominant position. Specifically, the US wants “to continue its attempt at human rights colonialism in international relations.”

Watch the ABC News video reporting that the UN General Assembly suspends Russia from Human Rights Council:

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Do you support the United Nations’ decision to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council? Also, will this send a clear message to the world that countries should remain conscious of their conduct even during the war?

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