Russia’s Deputy Ambassador accuses the council of being monopolized by a group of countries.
The U.N. General Assembly voted Thursday to suspend Russia from the world organization’s leading human rights body over allegations of horrific rights violations by Russian soldiers in Ukraine. The vote on the U.S. initiated resolution was 93-24 with 58 abstentions, significantly lower than the vote on two resolutions the assembly adopted last month demanding an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine, withdrawal of all Russian troops, and protection for civilians.
Both of those resolutions were approved by at least 140 nations. After the vote, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador, Gennady Kuzmin announced that Russia withdrew from the Human Rights Council earlier Thursday, before the assembly took action, apparently in expectation of the result.
He accused the council of being monopolized by a group of countries with “short-term political and economic interests” and “blatant and massive violations of human rights.” U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said when the U.S. was elected to the council last year that it has an important role in “documenting atrocities in order to hold wrongdoers accountable.” And he said the United States and other countries “must push back against attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded.”
Russia is the second country to have its membership rights stripped by the rights council which was established in 2006. In 2011, Libya was suspended by the assembly when upheaval in the North African country brought down longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. While almost half the U.N.’s 193 member nations supported the resolution, more than half either voted against it, abstained, or didn’t vote.