It was largely observed that the regimes which do not respect human rights opposed the resolution or abstained from the voting process.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday (April 7) calling for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council. The resolution received a two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favour and 24 against. Fifty-eight abstained from the process.
Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, were among those who voted against. Those abstaining, included India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia.
It was largely observed that the regimes which do not respect human rights opposed the resolution or abstained from the voting process. The meeting marked the resumption of a special emergency session on the war in Ukraine and followed reports of violations committed by Russian forces.
According to a UN report, disturbing photos emerged from the city of Bucha, a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, where hundreds of civilian bodies were found in the streets and in mass graves following Russia’s withdrawal from the area.
Prior to the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya urged countries to support the resolution. “Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed by the Russian Army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human rights domain. That is why this case is unique and today’s response is obvious and self-explanatory,” he said.
The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council.
— UN Human Rights Council (@UN_HRC) April 7, 2022
This is not the first time that a Member State has had its membership of the Human Rights Council suspended. Libya lost its seat in 2011, following repression of protests by ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later overthrown.
Gennady Kuzmin, Deputy Russian ambassador, in remarks before the vote, called for countries to “vote against the attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights architecture.”
The vote took place on the anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the Ukrainian ambassador drew parallels with this dark page in recent history.
The UN Human Rights Council consists of 47 members and is based in Geneva. Russia joined the body in January 2021 as one of 15 countries elected by the General Assembly to serve three-year terms.
Under the 2006 resolution that established the Council, the General Assembly can suspend a country from membership if it commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.
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