Apr 7, 2022 - World

UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

How countries voted on UN resolution suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council
Data: UN; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Ninety-three countries on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council over reported atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and other places in Ukraine.

Why it matters: Russia is the first permanent member of the UN Security Council to have its membership revoked from any UN body, per AP.

  • The only other sitting member of the Human Rights Council to have its membership suspended was Libya in 2011, when forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi violently cracked down on anti-government protesters.

The big picture: 24 countries voted with Russia against its suspension from the council, while 58 nations abstained.

  • A two-thirds majority was needed. Abstentions didn't count.
  • Moscow was in its second year of a three-year term on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
  • Last month, 141 countries voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution "deploring" Russia's aggression against Ukraine and demanding the immediate and complete withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

Driving the news: As Ukraine's forces retook the Kyiv region and northern areas of the country last weekend, reports and images emerged of mass graves and bodies of civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.

  • "We believe that members of the Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, and we believe Russia must be held accountable," U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday as she announced that the U.S. in coordination with its European allies would seek to suspend Russia from the council.
  • Russia has denied it targets civilians and rejected the reports about Bucha.

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