United States Moves To Suspend Russia From U.N. Human Rights Council

The United States will move to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council amid mounting criticism of its ongoing war with Ukraine and reports that Russian forces have committed war crimes against Ukrainian civilians.

“In close coordination with Ukraine, European countries and other partners at the UN, we are going to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council,” said Olivia Dalton, a spokesperson for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, quoting Greenfield directly.

Last week, a dozen members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged President Joe Biden’s administration to move to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, which is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights.

“Swift action must be taken to show the world the United States and our allies will not stand for indiscriminate and unprovoked attacks on civilians and democracies. The time has come for Russia to no longer have a seat on the Council,” the senators, led by the committee’s top Republican, Senator Jim Risch (Idaho), and its Democratic chairman, Senator Bob Menendez (N.J.), wrote.

“We implore you to introduce a resolution in the UN General Assembly to call for the removal of the Russian Federation from the UNHRC immediately,” they added.

Russia has denied committing war crimes in Ukraine. Witnesses said Russian forces summarily executed civilians in the town of Bucha and a woman said a Russian soldier raped her numerous times in a school in Kharkiv, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the incidents “amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians.”