BREAKING NEWS: UN suspends Russia from the Human Rights Council

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In a controversial move, the UN expels Russia from the Human Rights Council

The General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UN), this Thursday, April 7, made the controversial decision to suspend Russia from the Human Rights council. Its consequences though raised concern among many of the 193 members of the institution, with many considering that it may be a dangerous precedent.

A total of 93 countries voted in favour of the proposal to remove Russia from the entity, for “systematic violation of human rights”. Another 24 voted against, with 58 abstaining, and 20 more not participating in the vote. To win the decision, a total of two-thirds was required, not counting abstentions.

When the result was announced, there was no sign of congratulations, perhaps showing the extent of division the conflict in Eastern Europe has raised.

Today’s resolution in the iconic United Nations room, at its headquarters in New York, was presented by the United States, with the support of several dozen countries. It was the second occasion on which this mechanism has been used. In 2011, Libya was suspended, however, that country received its membership again later that same year.

Prior to the vote, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, made a stirring speech. “Suspending Russia is not an option, but an obligation”, he said, because “the General Assembly must act against those who violate human rights”.

Stressing, “It is not something extraordinary, since Russia’s actions threaten world peace and security. Indifference is not the beginning, but the end, and it is a friend of the enemy”, he concluded. He was subsequently accused by Russian spokesman, Gennady Kuzmin, of making a “theatrical performance”.

According to Kuzmin, what was happening in the assembly was unrelated to “the reality on the ground.” Continuing, “This just responds to the United States maintaining a position of total control and colonialism in relations”.

“This is pouring gasoline on the fire, and we oppose it”, added the Chinese ambassador, a faithful ally of the Kremlin in this crisis, and against the West.

Even though Russia’s suspension occurred, it has to be remembered that they are one of the founding members of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. Unlike the Libya vote in 2011, today’s did not receive the full recommendation of the human rights institution.

Organisations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), have clearly positioned themselves in favour of the suspension. Having seen what has been happening in Ukraine, they consider that Russia is not a suitable country to be on that council.

A spokesman for the UK, Stephane Dujarric, commented, “There is concern about creating a dangerous precedent”. According to EFE, in private, UN sources have indicated their belief that suspending Russia could open the door for groups of countries to join forces in the future to remove other powers from the Human Rights Council, even without clear arguments, as reported by lavanguardia.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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