The UN will vote on Thursday for Russia’s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council

The United Nations (AP) – the UN General Assembly on Thursday will vote on the exclusion of Russia from participation in the main UN human rights body. The move was initiated by the United States in response to the discovery of hundreds of bodies after Russian troops left cities near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, prompting calls for their forces to be tried for war crimes.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield has called for depriving Russia of a seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council after videos and photos of streets of Bucha littered with corpses of civilians surfaced. Videos and reports from the city have sparked global outrage and calls for tougher sanctions against Russia, which categorically denies responsibility.

“We believe that members of the Russian military have committed war crimes in Ukraine, and we believe that Russia should be held accountable,” Thomas Greenfield said Monday. “Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce.”

Spokeswoman for the General Assembly Polina Kubiak said on Wednesday that the emergency special session of the Assembly on Ukraine will begin on Thursday at 10:00 (17:00 in Israel), when a resolution will be adopted “to suspend membership in the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation.” put to the vote.

While the Human Rights Council is based in Geneva, its members are elected by the General Assembly from 193 countries for a three-year term. The March 2006 resolution establishing the Human Rights Council stated that the assembly could suspend the membership rights of a country “which commits gross and systematic human rights violations”.

The short resolution to be voted on expresses “serious concern about the protracted human rights crisis and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, in particular reports of human rights violations and violations and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including gross and systematic violations. and human rights violations. “

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield addresses the UN Security Council on March 4, 2022 (AP Photo / Richard Drew)

Approval of the resolution requires a two-thirds majority of the members of the Assembly, who will vote “for” or “no”. Abstentions do not count.

On March 24, the General Assembly voted 140 to 5, with 38 abstaining from a resolution accusing Russia of a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and calling for an immediate ceasefire and protection of millions of civilians, as well as homes, schools and hospitals crucial to their survival.

The vote was almost the same as for the March 2 resolution, which the assembly adopted calling for an immediate ceasefire by Russia, the withdrawal of all its forces and the protection of all civilians. Voted 141 against 5 with 35 abstentions.

Thomas Greenfield said Monday that her message to the 140 members who voted in favor of the two resolutions in support of Russia’s ouster from the Human Rights Council is simple: action ”.

“We cannot allow a member state that violates all our dear principles to continue sitting in the UN Human Rights Council,” she said.

Public utilities carry the body of a civilian in the city of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kiev, April 3, 2022. (Sergey SUPINSKI / AFP)

Proponents of the resolution are optimistic about its adoption, although not necessarily support 140 countries.

Russia has asked an unspecified number of countries to vote “no”, saying abstaining or refusing to vote would be considered unfriendly and would affect bilateral relations.

In its so-called “non-paper” received by the Associated Press, Russia said that the attempt to exclude it from the Human Rights Council was political and supported by various countries to maintain its dominance and control over the world and continue the policy of neocolonial rights human ”in international relations.

Russia has stated that its priorities are the promotion and protection of human rights, including at the multilateral level in the Human Rights Council.

Russia’s ambassador to Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, called the US actions “unreasonable and purely emotional bravado that looks good on camera – as the United States likes.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov listens before the vote in support of the United Nations resolution approving the ceasefire in Syria, on Friday, February 26, 2016, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP / Brian R. Smith)

“Washington is using the Ukrainian crisis to its advantage, trying to exclude or exclude Russia from international organizations,” Gatilov said in a commentary issued by a representative of the Russian diplomatic mission.

Russia and four other permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto power – Britain, China, France and the United States – currently hold seats on the Human Rights Council, which the United States rejoined this year.

The only country deprived of the right to join the council was Libya in 2011, when unrest in the North African country toppled longtime leader Maammar Gaddafi, said Council spokesman Roland Gomez.

No permanent member of the Security Council has ever had his membership of any UN body revoked.

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