UN member states must vote against Russian seat on Human Rights Council say human rights organisations
The UN Human Rights council risks all credibility and independence if Russia wins a seat at the table this month, say 40 Syrian, Georgian, Ukrainian, and international organisations today. International human rights abusers do not belong on the Human Rights Council, they said as part of a new joint campaign.
The Human Rights Council has itself condemned Russia for human rights abuses, yet Russia looks likely to be granted a seat on the body set up to confront human rights violations and protect human rights around the world, unless member states vote against the move.
Campaigners warn that Russia will see its election as a green light to continue gross and systematic abuses of human rights at home and internationally.
Laila Kiki of The Syria Campaign said:
“The Council has played a vital role in independently investigating war crimes and violations of international human rights law, including those committed by Russia. It would be an absolute farce for Russia – a country that has deliberately targeted hospitals and bombed Syrian civilians, illegally annexed Crimea, and perpetrated ethnic cleansing in Georgia – to win a seat at the world’s top human rights body.”
Eka Gigauri, Executive Director, Transparency International Georgia said:
“Russia has already used its veto power at the UN Security Council to block any challenge to its human rights violations. We can’t let them hamstring the Human Rights Council as well. Russian armed forces continue to advance further into the territory of Georgia, occupying houses, gardens and pastures of the local population, kidnapping them regularly and depriving them the possibility to visit the houses of worship and the cemeteries of their ancestors.”
Mazen Darwish, Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, said: “Membership of the UN Human Rights Council must be restricted to countries most committed to human rights, regardless of influence and political power, and this applies not only to Russia, but also to a number of other member states. A vote for Russia sends a message that UN member states are indifferent to all the violations by Russian forces documented by international bodies and commissions of inquiry.”