Russia Fails UN Rights Body Reentry After Vote Loss

Russia Fails UN Rights Body Reentry After Vote Loss
Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, speaks at a UN General Assembly. (file photo)

GENEVA | Reuters | Russia’s bid to rejoin the United Nations’ top human rights body faced defeat as rival nations secured a significant victory in a closely watched General Assembly election. In a secret ballot, Russia garnered 83 votes, while Bulgaria secured 160 and Albania received 123 votes. Both Bulgaria and Albania vied for the two available seats representing Eastern Europe on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, with a three-year term set to commence on January 1.

Louis Charbonneau, the United Nations director at Human Rights Watch, stated, “UN member states sent a strong message to Russia’s leadership that a government implicated in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity is not welcome.”

Russia had been removed from the council 18 months earlier following a diplomatic effort led by the United States in response to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. A U.N.-mandated investigative body reported in March that Russia had committed a range of war crimes in Ukraine, including deliberate killings, torture, and the forced deportation of children.

Furthermore, the International Criminal Court accused Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of Ukrainian children. The Kremlin, however, denied these allegations and challenged the court’s jurisdiction.

A senior Russian official claimed that the United States had made substantial efforts to prevent Russia’s return to the Human Rights Council.

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