Russia seeks reinstatement to UN Human Rights Council despite controversy

, 17:18, 27.09.2023
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Russia has formally applied to rejoin the United Nations' Human Rights Council, sparking outrage in the West due to its past actions in Ukraine. This move is met with strong opposition from NATO state

Russia seeks reinstatement to UN Human Rights Council despite controversy

UN Human Rights Council

Russia has officially applied to rejoin the United Nations' Human Rights Council, nearly 18 months after its suspension due to its invasion of Ukraine. The UN website lists Russia as a candidate for the council's 2024-2026 term, with a vote scheduled for October 10.

This move to reinstate Russia has sparked strong opposition from Western nations, particularly NATO members, who argue that Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine should disqualify it from participating in international organizations. Russia has faced numerous allegations of human rights abuses during its conflict in Ukraine, and the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin in connection with an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

Western opposition mounts as Russia seeks reentry to UN Human Rights Council

According to Russia's position paper, obtained by CNN, Moscow views the Human Rights Council as a "key body in the United Nations system." In the paper, Russia seeks support from UN members and emphasizes the importance of preventing the Human Rights Council from being used as a tool to advance the political agendas of certain countries, punishing governments that are not aligned with their interests.

Russia was removed from the council in April 2022, shortly after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Council membership is based on equitable geographical distribution, and there are two vacant seats for the Eastern European States regional group, which Russia, Albania, and Bulgaria have announced their candidacy for.

Russia's position paper pledges to "firmly promote principles of cooperation and strengthening of constructive mutually respectful dialogue" if re-elected to the council. However, Western countries are expected to strongly oppose Russia's application ahead of the October vote.

International community divided over Russia's UN Human Rights Council reapplication

A commission of the Human Rights Council recently stated that there is continuous evidence of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine, including unlawful attacks with explosive weapons, harm to civilians, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and attacks on energy infrastructure.

In the 2022 UN General Assembly vote to suspend Russia from the council, 93 of the UN's 193 countries supported the move to remove Moscow, while 24 voted against, and 58 abstained. Countries such as China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Vietnam, along with Russia, opposed the move, while Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were among the abstentions.

Russia had previously joined the council in January 2021 as one of 15 countries elected to serve a three-year term, becoming the first country to be removed from the council since Libya in 2011 following Muammar Gaddafi's repression of political protesters.

#UN#Human rights#Russia

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