Pakistan abstains as UN votes to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council over Ukraine abuses

09:32 AM | 8 Apr, 2022
Pakistan abstains as UN votes to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council over Ukraine abuses
Source: United Nations
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NEW YORK – The UN General Assembly has voted to suspend membership of Russia from the Human Rights Council amid allegations of attacking civilians in ongoing military operation in Ukraine.

The resolution titled ‘Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council’ was initiated by the US and it was supported by European Union, Latin American countries and other nation.  

The resolution received a two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favour and 24 against.  

Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, were among those who voted against.

However, fifty-eight countries abstained from the process. Those abstaining, included India, Pakistan, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

With the adoption of the resolution, Russian has become first permanent member of the UN Security Council to have its membership revoked from any wing of UN.

However, this is not the first time that a member state of UNGA has had its membership of the Human Rights Council suspended. Libya lost its seat in 2011, following repression of protests by ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later overthrown.

“The meeting marked the resumption of a special emergency session on the war in Ukraine and followed reports of violations committed by Russian forces.

This past weekend, disturbing photos emerged from the city of Bucha, a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, where hundreds of civilian bodies were found in the streets and in mass graves following Russia’s withdrawal from the area,” UN said in a press release.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the UN decision. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “War criminals have no place in UN bodies aimed at protecting human rights. Grateful to all member states which supported the relevant UNGA resolution and chose the right side of history”.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has condemned the decision and vowed that Russia will continue to defend its interests by using all legal means.

Prior to the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya urged countries to support the resolution.

“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,” he said.

Gennady Kuzmin, Deputy Russian ambassador, in remarks before the vote, called for countries to “vote against the attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights architecture.”

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