UN votes to suspend Russia from human rights council over killings in Bucha

Source: The Hill | April 7, 2022 | Laura Kelly

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council amid global outrage over atrocities Moscow’s forces are believed to have committed against civilians in Ukraine.

The general assembly voted to suspend Russia as a member of the organization’s top human rights body, with 93 countries voting in favor and 58 abstentions.

Russia voted against the measure, and was joined by 23 other countries.

The vote comes following at least two votes in the General Assembly condemning Russia for its aggression against Ukraine, on March 2 and March 24.

Ukrainian officials, the U.S. and other global leaders have condemned Russia as responsible for committing war crimes in Ukraine, following the discovery of, at least, hundreds of dead civilians in suburbs outside of Kyiv, in particular the city of Bucha, and the victims showing evidence of having been bound, shot dead at close range and tortured. The victims included women, children and the elderly.

The vote was proposed by Ukraine’s mission to the U.N., which is also a member of the Human Rights Council. Established in 2006, the council built into its founding a mechanism to suspend the membership of a council member “that commits gross and systematic violations of human right.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya, speaking before the vote said they viewed the move “as a rare and extraordinary action. However, Russia’s actions are beyond the pale. Russia is not only committing human rights violations, it is shaking the underpinnings of international peace and security.”

The ambassador criticized countries that abstained or voted against the resolution.

“Pressing ‘no’ means pulling a trigger and means a red dot on the screen, red as the blood of the innocent lives lost. And this image of the red, bloody dots on this screen will stay with you and all of us as long as memory does not fail us,” Kyslystya said.

The Russian envoy to the United Nations, speaking ahead of the vote, dismissed the resolution as “theatrics” and said Russia’s exclusion from the council “could be a dangerous precedent.”


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