Home News Ukraine Invasion: Czech Republic Replaces Russia On UN Human Rights Council

Ukraine Invasion: Czech Republic Replaces Russia On UN Human Rights Council

by James Davies

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday voted for the Czech Republic to replace Russia on the Human Rights Council, the world organisation’s leading human rights body.

The vote was 157 countries in favour and 23 abstentions.

The General Assembly in a secret ballot voting elected Czech Republic who was the only candidate for the seat left vacant when the General Assembly voted to suspend Russia over “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” by invading Russian troops in Ukraine.

Seats on the 47-member Geneva-based council are divided among regional groups and a replacement for Russia had to come from an East European country.

The ballot saw a large number of member states voting in favour of the European country; 180 of the General Assembly’s 193 members deposited ballots. The result was 157 countries in favour of the Czech Republic and 23 abstentions.

The United States led the rare push to suspend Russia after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Libya was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 over violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The council is scheduled to hold a special session on May 12 at Kyiv’s request to examine “the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression.”

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement on May 10 said that Russia will not participate in the special session.

“Arguments and explanations on the true objectives of this special military operation and the real situation on the ground have been completely ignored,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in the statement.

Though Moscow was suspended from the rights body, it would have been allowed to participate due to its observer status.

Countries that supported Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council said Russia should not be able to sit in judgment on other nations’ human rights records.

The council voted on March 4 to trigger a commission of inquiry — the highest-possible level of investigation — into alleged Russian violations during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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