Washington, Apr 8 (PTI) US President Joe Biden Thursday lauded the UN General Assembly decision to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, describing it as “a meaningful step by the international community”.
“This is a meaningful step by the international community further demonstrating how Putin’s war has made Russia an international pariah,” Biden said hours after the UN General Assembly suspended Russia from the UNHRC with 93-24 votes and 58 abstentions.
India abstained from voting. Biden said the United States worked closely with its allies and partners around the world to drive this vote because Russia is committing gross and systemic violations of human rights.
“Russian forces are committing war crimes. Russia has no place on the Human Rights Council. After today’s historic vote, Russia will not be able to participate in the Council’s work or spread its disinformation there as the Council’s Commission of Inquiry investigates Russia’s violations and abuses of human rights in Ukraine,” he said.
Observing that the images coming out of Bucha and other areas of Ukraine as Russian troops withdraw are horrifying, he said the signs of people being raped, tortured, executed — in some cases having their bodies desecrated — are an outrage to our common humanity.
“Russia’s lies are no match for the undeniable evidence of what is happening in Ukraine. That’s why nations in every region condemn Russia’s unprovoked and brutal aggression against Ukraine and support the brave people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom,” he said.
“And we will continue to work with responsible nations around the world to gather evidence to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities being committed, increase the pressure on Russia’s economy and isolate Russia on the international stage,” Biden said.
On Russia’s suspension from UNHRC, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, in a separate statement, said “a wrong has been righted”.
“Today a wrong has been righted. The world is sending another clear signal that Russia must immediately and unconditionally cease its war of aggression against Ukraine and honour the principles enshrined in the UN Charter,” Blinken said after the UNGA suspended Russia from UNHRC.
By suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, countries around the world chose to hold Moscow to account today for gross and systematic violations of human rights in its premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war of choice against Ukraine, he added.
“We have seen growing evidence of Russia’s brutal disregard for international law and human rights in Ukraine, most notably in the death and devastation it has caused in communities such as Bucha, Irpin, and Mariupol,” Blinken said.
“The atrocities the world has witnessed appear to be further evidence of war crimes, which serves as another indication that Russia has no place in a body whose primary purpose is to promote respect for human rights,” he added.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield in her remarks at the UN General Assembly Emergency Special Session to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council described this as an important and historic moment.
“Countries from around the globe have voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council for its gross and systematic violations of human rights. We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored,” she said.
“After all, this is not only about accountability for Russia. It’s about standing with the people of Ukraine. And it’s about the credibility of the UN. Right now, the world is looking to us; they are asking if the United Nations is prepared to meet this moment. They are wondering if we are a platform for propaganda and a safe haven for human rights abusers – or if we are prepared to live up to our highest ideals, enshrined in the UN Charter,” she said.
“Today, the international community took one collective step in the right direction,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
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