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HomeWorldRussia loses bid to regain seat on UN Human Rights Council

Russia loses bid to regain seat on UN Human Rights Council

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters

The UN Basic Meeting on Tuesday rejected a bid by Russia to regain a seat on the Human Rights Council, from which it was ousted after invading Ukraine.

Russia, which was competing with Bulgaria and Albania for 2 open spots allotted to the Japanese Europe regional group, nonetheless acquired 83 votes in its favor from the UN Basic Meeting’s 193 members.

The election for the physique’s 2024-2026 time period had been considered as a take a look at of what Moscow contended was quiet assist regardless of fierce Western-led criticism over its brutal assault on its neighbor.

The vote comes simply days after a Russian missile assault on the Ukrainian village of Groza killed greater than 50 folks, though international consideration has since turned to battle between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas.

“UN member states sent a strong signal to Russia’s leadership that a government responsible for countless war crimes and crimes against humanity doesn’t belong on the Human Rights Council,” stated Louis Charbonneau of worldwide NGO Human Rights Watch.

Albanian ambassador Ferit Hoxha, whose nation acquired 123 votes whereas Bulgaria acquired 160, had stated earlier that the UN Basic Meeting “has an important choice” to “demonstrate that it is not ready to take an arsonist for a firefighter.”

The Human Rights Council’s 47 members are allotted by area, and every giant regional group often pre-selects its personal candidates, which the Basic Meeting then sometimes approves.

However this 12 months, two teams had extra candidates than accessible seats.

In Latin America, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Peru have been vying for 3 seats, and in Japanese Europe, Albania, Bulgaria and Russia sought two seats.

The vote takes place by secret poll, testing Russia’s rivalry that it has personal assist in creating international locations weary of the West’s billions of {dollars} in assist to Ukraine.

In April 2022, 93 international locations voted to droop Russia from the council, whereas 24 opposed that punishment.

That vote in opposition to Russia was much less lopsided than different resolutions defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which drew approval from round 140 international locations.

Votes for the Human Rights Council are extra difficult as some international locations whose personal data face scrutiny are uneasy about authorizing repercussions.

 ‘Undermine credibility’ 

The US has usually criticized the Human Rights Council over its membership and alleged slant in opposition to Israel, though President Joe Biden rejoined the group after a pullout by his predecessor Donald Trump.

“Russia’s reelection to that body, while it openly continues to commit war crimes and other atrocities, would be an ugly stain that would undermine the credibility of the institution and the United Nations,” senior US diplomat Robert Wooden stated.

However Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that there “are no beacons of democracy or rogue states, as is sometimes being portrayed.”

“No member-state can claim to be immune from human rights violations. But the solution is to strengthen international regulation,” he stated.

Richard Gowan, who follows the United Nations for the Worldwide Disaster Group, stated that Western diplomats have been frightened that Russia may return.

“Russia has always argued that many UN members sympathize with it in private but won’t support it in public for fear of antagonizing Western powers,” he added. “Moscow will hope that this supposed silent majority supports it in this secret vote.”

Advocacy group Human Rights Watch had known as on international locations to oppose the candidacies of Russia, China and Cuba.

China, not less than, confronted little danger because it was one of many 4 international locations within the Asian group vying for 4 open seats, alongside Japan, Indonesia and Kuwait.

The US and several other different Western governments say China is committing genocide in opposition to its principally Muslim Uyghur minority by means of large camps, a cost denied by Beijing.

China was finally reelected with 154 votes whereas Cuba additionally retained its seat with 146 votes.

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