After yesterday’s evening vote, the UN General Assembly suspended Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council. 93 states voted in favor of such a decision, 24 voted against, 58 decided to abstain.
Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mali, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan voted against , Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
US senators came up with the initiative to exclude Russia from the UNHRC. On March 28, members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (8 Democrats and 4 Republicans) made such an appeal to Joe Biden, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. They called for the US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield to submit a relevant resolution to the UN General Assembly. To make a positive decision, the document must be supported by two-thirds of the members of the UN General Assembly.
The request of the senators was followed by a reaction in the UN. Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the organization’s Secretary General, during a briefing on March 30 called the initiative to exclude Russia from the UN HRC “a dangerous precedent.” But already on April 4, Thomas-Greenfield announced Washington’s desire to expel Moscow from the UNHRC, Reuters quotes:
“We think it’s time for the UN General Assembly to vote to remove her.”
Supported this call and the head of the British Foreign Office Liz Truss:
“Given the strong evidence of war crimes, including reports of mass graves and the horrific massacre in Bucha, Russia cannot remain a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Russia’s membership must be suspended.”
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya, during a press conference on April 5, said that the exclusion of Russia from the organization would not help the negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, calling the situation “unprecedented.” Nebenzya expressed hope that the US initiative would not be supported by members of the General Assembly. In turn, the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that “the work of the UN unit and UN institutions without the participation of Russia is unthinkable”, noting that it “will become simply inferior”, writes RBC.
Foreign Policy noted that Russia would view as “unfriendly” the decision of countries to vote “yes” for its exclusion from the UNHRC or abstain. The corresponding letter (the editors claim that a copy is at their disposal) was sent to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean:
“The position of each country will be taken into account both in the development of bilateral relations and in the work on issues important to it within the UN framework.”
Reference. The UN Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly, whose task is to promote the values of human rights and protect them. In the course of its work, the Council may prepare reviews and recommendations. The UNHRC was established in 2006 in partnership with the Commission on Human Rights and is based in Geneva. It consists of 47 member countries, who are elected for a three-year term, while the maximum term of membership in the Council should not exceed six consecutive years. Seats on the Council are distributed among the UN regional groups according to the principle of quotas for each regional group: 13 seats are allocated for the states of Africa, 13 for the states of Asia, 6 for the countries of Eastern Europe, 8 for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, 7 seats for the Western European and other states, including the United States, Canada and Israel.
The first and until yesterday the only country whose membership in the UNHRC was suspended was Libya. The decision was made on March 1, 2011 due to the brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations by then-leader Muammar Gaddafi. The initiative to remove Libya came from the UNHRC itself, which made a recommendation. Libya’s membership in the UNHRC was restored eight months later, in November 2011. The UN member states decided to restore the country by an overwhelming majority. This decision was facilitated by the overthrow of Gaddafi.
As our publication reported, against the background of the killings of civilians in Bucha, the European Parliament voted yesterday for resolutionin which the deputies called for an immediate embargo on the import of gas, oil, coal and nuclear fuel from the Russian Federation.