The countries of the United Nations (UN) on Thursday suspended Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council, an almost unprecedented measure with which the United States and its allies seek to further isolate Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
The exclusion is based on “horrific human rights violations and abuses” committed by Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. The UN General Assembly approved the Washington-driven initiative with 93 votes in favor, 24 against and 58 abstentions, comfortably surpassing the required two-thirds majority.
Russia is the second country to be suspended from the Human Rights Council since its creation in 2006. Until now, the only precedent was the exclusion of Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya in response to the crackdown on protests in 2011.
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“Russia is not only committing human rights violations, it is shaking the underpinnings of international peace and security,” Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said before the vote.
The decision to expel Russia from the UN
The possibility of excluding Russia from the Human Rights Council was raised weeks ago, but Washington did not decide to make the move until the massacre carried out in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, where the Ukrainian authorities accuse Russian troops of killing hundreds of civilians, became known.
For the American ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, today’s move sends “a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored” and that Russia must be held accountable.