U.S. Senators want to boot Russia from Human Rights Council
By Jimmy Quinn
National Review (30.03.2022) – https://bit.ly/3NyR9lT – A bipartisan group of senators urged U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield to introduce a U.N. resolution expelling Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. They asked her to do so on Monday, in a letter led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez and ranking member Jim Risch.
“According to the membership rules of the UNHRC, states engaging in a pattern of gross and systemic abuses can be removed by a two-thirds vote of the UN General Assembly,” wrote the senators. “We implore you to introduce a resolution in the UN General Assembly to call for the removal of the Russian Federation from the UNHRC immediately.”
The Biden administration brought the U.S. back to the council for a term that began this year, following a 2018 Trump administration decision to withdraw from the body over the continued involvement of brutal dictatorships in its activities. In 2020, U.N. members elected China, Russia, Cuba, and other countries with unsavory human-rights records to the body, which is based in Geneva.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement earlier this month saying that the U.S. has assessed that Russia has carried out war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine. From indiscriminate bombings of civilians centers to disturbing new reports about rape, Russia has carried out egregious human-rights abuses.
U.S. officials have spoken out forcefully at the U.N about the Russian invasion. They’ve also convinced other members to support resolutions condemning Moscow’s military campaign and establishing a special commission to investigate human-rights abuses perpetrated by Russian forces. Earlier this month, Blinken even questioned how Russia could be allowed to remain on the council.
As the senators noted in their letter, however, the administration has so far declined to publicly endorse a resolution booting Russia from the Human Rights Council.
“Russia should not have an opportunity to continue to block, stifle, and otherwise distract from important conversations on the situation of human rights in Ukraine. Swift action must be taken to show the world the United States and our allies will not stand for indiscriminate and unprovoked attacks on civilians and democracies,” wrote the senators. “The time has come for Russia to no longer have a seat on the Council.”
Photo credits: Mike Segar/Reuters