The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is set to vote on a United States-initiated resolution to suspend Russia from the organisation’s leading human rights body over allegations that its soldiers killed civilians while retreating from the region around Ukraine’s capital.
The brief resolution to be voted on Thursday expresses “grave concern at the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, particularly at the reports of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights”.
Approval would require a two-thirds majority of the UNGA members that vote “yes” or “no”, with abstentions not counting in the calculation.
Russia has called on an unspecified number of countries to vote “no”, saying an abstention or not voting would be considered an unfriendly act and would affect bilateral relations.
In its so-called “non-paper” obtained by The Associated Press news agency, Russia said the attempt to expel it from the Human Rights Council is a political act by countries that want to preserve their dominant position and control over the world.
Those nations want to continue “the politics of neo-colonialism of human rights” in international relations, it said, adding that Russia’s priority is to promote and defend human rights, including multilaterally in the Human Rights Council.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the call for Russia to be stripped of its seat on the 47-member council earlier this week, following videos and photos of streets in the town of Bucha strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians.
“We believe that the members of the Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine, and we believe that Russia needs to be held accountable,” Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday.