UN General Assembly to Vote on Suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council – After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the United Nations to act against Russia following the atrocities in Bucha – calling on the United Nations Security Council to remove the Russian Federation or “dissolve” altogether – the United Nations General Assembly announced that it will conduct a vote on whether or not Russia should be suspended from the Human Rights Council.
“Now the world can see what Russian military did in Bucha, but the world has yet to see what they have done in other occupied cities and regions of our country,” Zelenskyy told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.
“Ukraine needs peace. Europe needs peace. The world needs peace,” Zelenskyy said, calling on the United Nations to act.
When Will the Vote Happen?
The vote will take place today, according to a spokesperson for the president of the U.N. General Assembly. After the General Assembly resumes an Emergency Special Session on Thursday morning, there will be speeches from world leaders and representatives of member countries, including comments from the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Thomas-Greenfield indicated her support for removing Russia from the Human Rights Council during a speech to the council on Tuesday.
“Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose, whose very purpose, is to promote respect for human rights,” she said. “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong.”
In order to successfully remove Russia from the Human Rights Council, which sits in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations General Assembly must vote two-thirds in favor to remove the Russian Federation. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield expressed confidence that the motion has the support of a sufficient number of member states.
What is the Human Rights Council?
The United Nations Human Rights Council is a body of the United Nations that aims to promote and protect human rights globally. With 47 members elected to the body, it investigates allegations of breaches of human rights – like the atrocities in Bucha and the targeting of residential buildings and hospitals by Russian troops in Ukraine – and addresses challenges relating to the freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the rights of racial minorities.
The council, however, has long included countries that engage in human rights abuses as members, including Saudi Arabia.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.