UN to rule Thursday on Russia’s request for suspension from Human Rights Council

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The sanction is mainly symbolic, but no less important: Russia could be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council. The organization’s General Assembly will meet “Thursday at 10 a.m. local time” in New York, confirms spokesperson Paulina Kubiak, to vote on this request from Westerners. “Russia should not occupy a position of authority in this body, nor should we allow Russia to use its role in the Council as a propaganda tool to suggest that it has a legitimate concern. regarding human rights,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday.

“In fact, we see every day (…) heartbreaking reports of their lack of interest in human rights. Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce. This damages the credibility of the Council and the United Nations as a whole,” she added. “That’s why we think it’s time for the United Nations General Assembly to suspend them,” said the American diplomat.

United States and United Kingdom confident

For Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council, sitting in Geneva, a majority of 2/3 of the countries is needed during the ballot to which the 193 members of the General Assembly are invited. Abstentions are not taken into account. The United States, like the United Kingdom which supported the American approach, are convinced of obtaining this majority. Other member countries, European but also African, are less sure, confided several diplomats.

The UN secretariat, for its part, expressed reluctance over such a suspension, fearing that it would open the door to any request for the suspension of a country in any UN body by any country. The Human Rights Council is the main United Nations forum responsible for promoting this area. Created in 2006, it is made up of 47 Member States, elected by the General Assembly.

Russia and Ukraine members currently

In addition to promoting human rights, its mission is to regularly review their situation in UN member countries. The Council can also take up any question or situation related to human rights that requires it, including during exceptional meetings, which can be convened urgently. This was particularly the case recently for the situation in Ukraine or Ethiopia.

Russia has been a member on and off since 2006. A state can only serve two terms in a row and then it must wait at least a year before it can claim a seat again. But the current situation is sadly ironic: both Ukraine and Russia are current members of the Council, and Russia’s mandate expires in 2023.

In UN history, Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council in 2011 by a vote by acclamation of the UN General Assembly. Unlike Russia, it was not a permanent member of the Security Council and Tripoli did not sit on it as a non-permanent member.

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