This week, the United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council amid allegations that Russian soldiers in Ukraine committed human rights violations.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the vote was a “historic moment.”
“We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored” and that Russia must be held accountable “for this unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable war.”
According to the Associated Press, the suspension comes after a series of videos and photos surfaced showing the bodies of civilians in the town of Bucha left behind after Russian soldiers retreated. Bucha is a town on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Russian officials have said they are not responsible.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine “had made Russia an international pariah.”
Russia is only the second country to be forcibly removed from the human rights council. In 2011, Libya was suspended by the assembly when violence in the North African country brought down the leader.
The vote to remove Russia was 93-24, with 58 abstentions.
Before the vote, Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya asked assembly members to keep the Human Rights Council from “sinking” and implored them to suspend Russia. He also asserted that Russia has committed “horrific human rights violations and abuses that would be equated to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
“Russia’s actions are beyond the pale,” he said. “Russia is not only committing human rights violations, it is shaking the underpinnings of international peace and security.”
Following the vote, Russia’s deputy ambassador said Russia had already withdrawn from the council before the vote.
In March, the U.N. General Assembly voted 140 to 5 with 38 abstentions on a resolution that blames Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The resolution also asked for an immediate cease-fire.
The U.S. Formally Accuses Russia of Committing War Crimes in Ukraine
Ukrainian Officials Say Kyiv Has Been Taken Back from Russia
Photo courtesy: Mat Reding/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.