UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council following alleged Bucha, Ukraine atrocities

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The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council following global outrage over alleged atrocities recently committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Ukraine.

A total of 93 members of the assembly voted in favor of the measure, while 24 were against and 58 abstained. Among those who voted against the resolution are Russia’s regional ally Belarus, China, North Korea, Iran and Syria.

“Russia’s actions are inadmissible,” Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya said when presenting the US-initiated resolution before the vote of the 193 members of the General Assembly. “Russia is not only committing human rights violations, it is shaking the foundations of international peace and security.”

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A vote count of the resolution to affirm the suspension of the Russian Federation from the United Nations Human Rights Council is displayed at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
(AP/John Minchillo)

Deputy Russian Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin urged members to vote “no”.

“What we see today is an attempt by the United States to maintain its dominant position and its total control,” he said. “We reject false allegations against us based on staged events and widely publicized forgeries.”

Kyslytsya responded to Russia’s complaints about the proceedings by saying, “We have heard, repeatedly, the same perverse logic of the aggressor trying to present himself as the victim.”

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield had called for Russia to be stripped of its seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council following videos and photos of streets in the town of Bucha littered with corpses of what appeared to be civilians. The deaths sparked global revulsion and calls for tougher sanctions against Russia, which has vehemently denied its troops were responsible.

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

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday at United Nations Headquarters.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday at United Nations Headquarters.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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

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The brief resolution passed expressed “serious concern at the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ukraine, in particular at reports of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights. »

Approval required a two-thirds majority of assembly members voting “yes” or “no”, abstentions not counting in the calculation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.