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Reuters: Diplomats say Russia could return to UN Human Rights Council over 'Ukraine fatigue'

by Nate Ostiller October 6, 2023 3:19 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russia may have the chance to be reelected to its former seat on the UN's Human Rights Council due to growing "Ukraine fatigue," unnamed diplomats told Reuters on Oct. 6.

Vasily Nebenzya, Russian diplomat and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, spoke about the Human Rights Council at the U.N. in New York on Oct. 5, just hours after a Russian rocket killed at least 51 civilians in Hroza, Kharkiv Oblast.

Earlier on Sept. 26, it was reported that Russia is competing for an open seat on the council against Albania and Bulgaria. The election will occur on Oct. 10, and the successful candidate must secure a majority, at least 97 votes, to be seated on the council.

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."

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 in September concluded that Russia is "unqualified" for membership in the Human Rights Council.

However, there is a sense, particularly among African and Asian countries, of a growing fatigue of the war in Ukraine, according to sources that spoke to Reuters.

In addition, there is hesitance about the prospect of the council being dominated by Western countries. Russia has long portrayed itself as a friend of Africa, and a world power that may represent Africa's interests on the world stage.

News about Russia's attempt to be reelected to its seat on the council drew widespread condemnation from international officials.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said it was "farcical" and U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized it was "not consistent with their actions in Ukraine."

Marc Limon, executive director of Universal Rights Group, said it "would obviously be disastrous for the council (and the UN's) credibility."

Russia’s influence on Africa exaggerated, experts say
When Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine, it received nearly universal condemnation for its aggression. Yet, while most Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia, most African states were mute. Many African countries chose to remain silent on the war – and became a major destinat…
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