US pushes to suspend Russia from UN human rights body

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A preview of the special session on the situation in Ukraine of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

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BUCHAREST, April 4 (Reuters) – The United States will ask the United Nations General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, the US ambassador to the United Nations announced on Monday, after the Ukraine has accused Russian troops of killing dozens of civilians in the city. from Bucha.

A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member assembly in New York can suspend a state for persistently gross and systematic human rights abuses.

“Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during a visit to Romania.

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“And that’s wrong, which is why we think it’s time for the UN General Assembly to vote to remove them.”

Thomas-Greenfield said she wanted to vote this week.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the Assembly has passed two resolutions denouncing Russia with 140 votes in favour. Moscow says it is carrying out a “special operation” to demilitarize Ukraine.

“My message to these 140 countries who have bravely united is this: the images of Bucha and the devastation across Ukraine compel us to translate our words into deeds,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters during a visit. In Romania.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, said such a move would be unlikely to enjoy majority support.

“Washington is exploiting the Ukraine crisis for its own benefit to try to exclude or suspend Russia from international organizations, including the Human Rights Council here in Geneva,” Gatilov said.

Russia is in its second year of a three-year term on the 47-member council, which cannot make legally binding decisions, but its decisions send important political messages and can authorize investigations.

Last month, he opened an investigation into alleged rights abuses, including possible war crimes, in Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Thirty-two members voted in favor of the resolution, presented by Ukraine. Russia and Eritrea voted against while 13, including China, abstained.

The deputy mayor of Bucha said that about 50 bodies found after the withdrawal of Russian forces had been victims of extrajudicial executions by Russian troops. Read more

Reuters was unable to independently verify who was responsible for killing these Bucha residents.

Ukrainian authorities have said they are investigating possible war crimes in that country. The Kremlin has denied charges related to the killing of civilians in the city.

The United States said war crimes had been committed in Ukraine and that American experts were gathering evidence to prove it.

The General Assembly previously suspended a country from the council. In March 2011, he unanimously suspended Libya over violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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Reporting by Michelle Nichols, additional reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva; edited by John Stonestreet and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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