The UN General Assembly voted Thursday to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over its concern regarding reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law” against Ukraine.
Russia is now the second country ever to be suspended from the Human Rights Council, following the UN’s vote to remove Libya in 2011 in response to Muammar Gaddafi’s violence against anti-government protesters. The resolution passed with 93 nations voting in favor, 24 voting against and 58 abstaining from voting. Russia, Belarus, China, North Korea and Iran were among the nations who voted against the resolution.
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya urged countries to support the resolution before the vote stating:
Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed by the Russian Army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human rights domain. That is why this case is unique and today’s response is obvious and self-explanatory.
In response to the adoption of the resolution, Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin declared that Russia had already decided that day to end its membership with the Human Rights Council. Russia’s first deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanski also announced the nation’s withdrawal on Twitter stating, “After today’s scandalous vote by Western countries and those who for different reasons come to their heel Russia withdrew from HRC before the end of its term”.
The resolution follows the Human Rights Council’s recent decision on March 4 to establish a commission to investigate possible rights violations and war crimes committed during Russia’s attack on Ukraine.