The UN expels Russia from its Human Rights Council for the invasion of Ukraine | International

This time abstentions did not count. And it took two-thirds of if it is at the United Nations General Assembly to make the symbolically charged decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the UN Human Rights Council for “serious and systematic violations and abuses” committed during the invasion of Ukraine. Of the 193 Member States, 176 have voted: a total of 93 have spoken in favor at an extraordinary session held this Thursday in New York; 24, against. Discounting the 58 abstentions, the resolution has gone ahead with 79% of the 117 valid votes.

The proposal, which represents a diplomatic setback for Russia, was presented last Monday by the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, after learning of the atrocities allegedly committed by the Russian Army in Bucha. In that suburb north of the capital, kyiv, which was under the control of the invading forces for a month, the withdrawal of troops this past weekend left behind dozens of civilian bodies lying in the streets and half buried in graves. common, many with signs of torture. These acts were described by the president of the United States, Joe Biden, as “war crimes” and by his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodímir Zelensky, after a visit to the area, as evidence of a “genocide”. Moscow maintains, despite the evidence to the contrary, the accounts of witnesses and journalists on the ground and satellite images, that everything is a montage.

There is only one precedent for the motion adopted today: the suspension of Libya in 2011 due to evidence of the use of violence against protesters by forces loyal to then President Muammar Gaddafi. The body, founded in 2006 and based in Geneva, is made up of 47 States, “responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world.” It is not qualified to make legally binding decisions, but it can initiate investigations. Russia, which is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, is in the second of its three years as a member of the body from which it has now been suspended.

The text voted on Thursday reflects “serious concern about the current humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ukraine, in particular about reports of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international law by Russia.”

Moscow had asked an unspecified number of countries to vote against the suspension. He warned them, according to a document obtained by the AP agency, that a Yes or the gesture of abstaining or not voting (both useless to Russia’s interests) would be interpreted by the Kremlin as a deterioration in bilateral relations.

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Before the vote, and after an impassioned presentation by the Ukrainian ambassador, Sergei Kislitsia, who once again recalled the precedent of the Holocaust, they took the floor to express their opposition to the resolution, as well as their intention to vote against it, the representatives from Kazakhstan, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Iran, Syria and Cuba. They cited arguments such as the lack of an independent investigation, the inaction of the UN in previous cases in which the United States was involved, or the counterproductive effects of such a decision on the peace negotiations. Senegal, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa warned, for their part, that they would abstain.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the UN Assembly has adopted two resolutions condemning Russia’s actions with 141 and 140 votes, respectively. Moscow continues to refuse to call “war” and speaks of a “special operation” to demilitarize Ukraine.

Russia’s permanent representative to the organization in Geneva, Gennadi Gatilov, had explained before the vote to the Russian agency TAS: “If the resolution is adopted, Westerners will be able to freely impose on other countries the concepts of their vision of human rights. humans that satisfy both them and their Western accomplices.”

After learning of Russia’s suspension, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, congratulated himself on Twitter: “There is no place for war criminals in the UN organizations dedicated to the defense of human rights. Grateful to all member states that have supported this important resolution and have chosen to stand on the right side of history.”

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