Russia Bids to Rejoin U.N. Human Rights Council

Russia is in search of election to the United Nations’ high human rights physique in a vote subsequent week that can supply the newest take a look at of worldwide assist for the Western-led diplomatic isolation imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is hoping it may possibly deflect consideration from its assault on Ukraine and regain its seat on the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council after the General Assembly voted to droop it in April 2022, two months after the beginning of its full-scale invasion.

Observers say the vote, scheduled for Tuesday within the 193-member General Assembly, is simply too shut to name, partially as a result of Russia maintains assist amongst some nations of the worldwide south for its opposition to what it calls Western hegemony.

Independent human rights teams have greeted Russia’s candidacy with disbelief, describing it as a unprecedented show of diplomatic chutzpah.

“Russia is manifestly unfit for membership of the Human Rights Council,” Felice Gaer, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, wrote in a letter to diplomatic missions in New York on Oct. 4. The letter drew consideration to credible experiences of widespread Russian warfare crimes in Ukraine and political repression domestically. On Thursday, Ukrainian officers accused Russian forces of bombarding a village away from the entrance line in jap Ukraine the place individuals had gathered for a wake, killing greater than 50 individuals.

In the primary half of this yr, Russian bombardments of Ukraine killed six civilians a day and wounded 20 others on common, U.N. screens in Ukraine reported this week. The U.N. mentioned it had documented almost 10,000 civilian deaths because the begin of the invasion in February 2022, and believes the precise quantity is way larger.

An worldwide fee’s report to the Human Rights Council last month detailed wide-ranging and systematic torture of prisoners of warfare by Russian forces in Ukraine. A separate report by a U.N. human rights knowledgeable final month documented arbitrary arrests, beatings and jail phrases handed out by Russian courts to crush political dissent.

Russia’s suspension final yr was solely the second time {that a} nation had been kicked off the 47-member Human Rights Council and was a humiliation for the nation, one of many 5 everlasting members of the U.N. Security Council. China, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria have been among the many 24 member states that opposed Russia’s elimination.

Human rights teams argue that restoring Russia’s membership would harm the credibility of the council, which is remitted by the U.N. General Assembly to uphold and promote human rights across the phrase.

Russia will probably be competing with Albania and Bulgaria for 2 seats open to Eastern European nations. Despite its isolation from the West, the Kremlin retains assist amongst some nations within the international south due to its assaults in opposition to what it calls U.S. and NATO hypocrisy, its promotion of so-called conventional values over L.G.B.T.Q. rights and its resistance to Western requires accountability for human rights abuses.

The West’s concentrate on Ukraine, some observers say, is inflicting consternation amongst some U.N. member states, together with in Africa, which might be extra nervous about conflicts nearer to dwelling, international financial challenges and local weather change.

“There is a real risk that the West and its allies are sleepwalking into a situation where Russia can be elected,” mentioned Marc Limon, the top of the Universal Rights Group, a Geneva analysis institute that screens human rights developments. “That would be catastrophic for the Human Rights Council.”

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