Russia Booted from United Nations Human Rights Council over Ukraine Invasion

Russia has been suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over its invasion of Ukraine.

There has been revulsion after images emerged in recent days showing the dead bodies of Ukrainian citizens piled up on the streets of Bucha.

The civilians were allegedly killed by Russian soldiers, a charge that Moscow denies.

Moscow has fired back at the decision, describing the move as an “unfriendly gesture.”

The Kremlin is now warning that there will be consequences for bilateral ties, according to a note seen by Reuters.

Because Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and cannot be removed, suspending it from the UNHRC is seen as a significant way for the UN to show its disapproval of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Two-thirds of the UN General Assembly needed to approve its suspension.

In a draft text issued prior to the vote, Moscow was accused of creating a “humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine.

There has been revulsion in recent days after images emerged of civilian bodies on the streets of Bucha in Kyiv province.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Russia had to be warned against continuing to act with “such impunity” and said it was “pretending” to respect human rights.

Ukraine has accused Russian troops of killing hundreds of civilians in Bucha, but Moscow has denied being to blame.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said earlier this week that while Bucha was under Russian control, “not a single civilian suffered from any kind of violence”.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February, the UN General Assembly has adopted two resolutions denouncing Moscow, with 141 and 140 votes in favor.

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Vladimir Putin’s government claims it is carrying out a “special operation” to demilitarise Ukraine.

Until Russia was suspended, the council, which is based in Geneva, had 47 members.

Russia was in the second year of a three-year term.

The UNHRC, which was established in 2006, cannot make legally binding decisions.

It can, however, authorize investigations and send powerful political messages.

Last month it opened an investigation into allegations of rights violations, including possible war crimes, in Ukraine since Russia began its attack.

Russia’s suspension is more than a loss of prestige.

It is a signal that two-thirds of the members of the United Nations General Assembly believe it is not fit to belong to an international human rights body.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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