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BBC: Russia seeks to rejoin UN Human Rights Council

by Martin Fornusek September 26, 2023 2:18 PM 2 min read
Freshly dug graves for unidentified civilians killed by the Russian military in the Bucha massacre in February-March 2022, at the city cemetery in Bucha, Kyiv Oblast. (Photo credit: Oleksandra Butova/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Russia seeks to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council after being expelled last year because of its invasion of Ukraine, the BBC reported on Sept. 26, citing a position paper distributed by Russian diplomats to UN members.

The news outlet says that Moscow will seek to return to the human rights body for a new three-year term during a vote in October.

Russia hopes to regain international credibility following its human rights violations in Ukraine and at home, diplomatic sources told the BBC.

Moscow is allegedly attempting to bribe some smaller countries ahead of the vote, offering grain and arms in return for the support. As a result, there is a realistic possibility that Russia can succeed and return to the Human Rights Council, the diplomats believe.

European Court of Human Rights strikes down Russia’s claims against Ukraine
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) struck down Russia’s claims against Ukraine filed in 2021, the court informed on July 18.

Russia was kicked out of the U.N.'s human rights body during a special session on April 7, 2022, with 93 votes cast in favor, 25 against, and 58 abstentions.

Officials backing the motion said it signaled the "international community's strong censure of Moscow's aggressive actions toward a neighboring state."

Ukraine, its international partners, and human rights groups said that Russia has committed a number of human rights violations during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This includes deliberate murder of civilians, shelling of civilian areas, torture, sexual violence, and abduction, namely of children. Several countries have recognized Russia's crimes against Ukraine as genocide.

A report by the U.N. Watch, the Human Rights Foundation, and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights published earlier in September concluded that Russia is "unqualified" for membership in the Human Rights Council.

The reasons for the conclusion included "aggression against Ukraine, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities, pervasive torture by government law enforcement officers," and a number of other violations.

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