THE UNITED NATIONS General Assembly yesterday suspended Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council over reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce it was quitting the body.
The resolution to suspend Russia received a two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favour and 24 against.
St Vincent and the Grenadines was among the 58 nations that abstained from the process.
Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, were among those that voted against.
Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St Kitts Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago were the other CARICOM nations that abstained from voting.
All other CARICOM nations voted in favour of the resolution.
Yesterday’s meeting marked the resumption of a special emergency session on the war in Ukraine and followed reports of violations committed by Russian forces.
This past weekend, disturbing photos emerged from the city of Bucha, a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, where hundreds of civilian bodies were found in the streets and in mass graves following Russia’s withdrawal
from the area.
Prior to the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya urged countries to support the resolution.
“Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed by the Russian Army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human rights domain. That is why this case is unique and today’s response is obvious and self-explanatory,” he said.
Gennady Kuzmin, Deputy Russian ambassador, in remarks before the vote, called for countries to “vote against the attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights architecture.”
Speaking after the vote, Kuzmin described the move as an “illegitimate and politically motivated step” and then announced that Russia had decided to quit the Human Rights Council altogether.