Oct 7, 2022 - World

UN body votes to appoint expert to monitor any human rights abuses in Russia

UN human rights council met last month

UN human rights council met last month to discuss war crimes committed in the Ukraine conflict. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday voted to appoint an independent expert to monitor alleged human rights violations in Russia.

Why it matters: It's the first time the 16-year-old body has adopted a motion establishing a special rapporteur to monitor potential human rights abuses by a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

  • The council also urged the Kremlin to comply with all of its obligations under international human rights law.

Driving the news: The motion passed 17 to six, with 24 countries abstaining. The United States, Britain and France are among those who voted in favor.

  • The countries that voted against it included China, Cuba and Venezuela.

Details: According to the motion, the special rapporteur would collect, examine and access relevant information and submit a report to the council next year.

  • Yes, but: Russia is unlikely to allow the special rapporteur to visit the country, AP notes.
  • Russian Ambassador Gennady Gatilov said ahead of the vote that the draft motion contained "false allegations" and it's another example of the West using the Council to obtain political goals.

What they're saying: "The Kremlin’s crackdown on fundamental freedoms and targeting of civil society & media have silenced dissent and enabled its aggression against Ukraine," U.S. Ambassador Michèle Taylor tweeted after the vote.

The big picture: Several human rights groups sent the council members an open letter last month, urging the world to immediately respond to Russia's recent campaign of repression and restriction of civic space.

  • Such crackdowns include criminalizing peaceful protest, enacting censorship laws to ban critical reporting on the Russia-Ukraine war, and jailing human rights defenders, the letter said.

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