On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced that the United States will seek Russia’s removal from the United Nations Human Rights Council, following its brutal invasion of Ukraine.
“I am returning to New York to do two things. One: I will take this to the Security Council tomorrow morning and address Russia’s actions directly,” Thomas-Greenfield said, according to a spokesperson. “Two: In close coordination with Ukraine, European countries and other partners at the UN, we are going to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council.”
“Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council is a farce. It hurts the credibility of the Council and the UN writ large. And it is wrong, which is why we believe it is time the UN General Assembly vote to suspend them,” Thomas-Greenfield added.
In order to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council, two-thirds of the body’s 193 members would need to vote in favor. Last month, 141 countries voted in favor of a resolution which demanded that Putin’s Russian Federation immediately “cease its use of force against Ukraine and withdraw its military forces.”
“At every step of the way, Russia has betrayed the United Nations. Russia’s actions go against everything this body stands for,” U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at the time.
“This is an extraordinary moment,” Thomas-Greenfield continued. “Now, at more than any other point in recent history, the United Nations is being challenged.”
“Vote yes if you believe UN member states – including your own – have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. Vote yes if you believe Russia should be held to account for its actions,” she added.
Only five countries voted against the resolution (Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria), while 34 countries abstained (including China, India, and Pakistan).
“The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe,” the organization explains. “It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.”
“With membership on the Council comes a responsibility to uphold high human rights standards,” the council notes.
In addition to Russia, other seemingly ironic members of the United Nations Human Rights Council include China, Cuba, India, Kazakhstan, Libya, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.