UN Suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. The final vote was 93 in favor of the suspension, 24 against and 58 abstentions.

A draft of the resolution says the General Assembly may “suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

The draft states “grave concern” regarding reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law” committed by the Russian Federation during its invasion of Ukraine.

CNN reports that the measure suspends Russia’s membership in the Council and would launch a review of the matter if the UN deems it appropriate.
“Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose — whose very purpose — is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy — it is dangerous,” United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she said.
Ultimately she argued, “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong.”

The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, ahead of the vote on Thursday called on all United Nations member states to support the resolution suspending Russia from the council.

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

The Ukrainian ambassador said Russia’s actions in Ukraine “would be equated to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” While he noted that a vote to suspend a country from the Human Rights Council is “a rare and extraordinary action,” he said “Russia’s actions are beyond the pale.”

China voted against removing Russia, with its UN ambassador Zhang Jun saying “Dealing with the membership of the Human Rights Council in such a way will set new dangerous precedent” and “produce serious consequences.”

D&B Staff

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