Russia must accept the weight of being ‘expelled’ from international body: Japan News

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TOKYO (THE JAPAN NEWS/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – It is clear that Russia has become even more isolated for the atrocities it committed in Ukraine. The administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin must accept the weight of having been effectively expelled from an international organization.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted by majority a resolution to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council. This means that Russia lost the right to vote on the council, among other things, halfway through its three-year term.

The UN body is tasked with monitoring and protecting human rights in every country. Where any of its members are deemed to have committed serious human rights violations, their membership may be suspended by a two-thirds majority of voting members in the United Nations General Assembly.

This is only the second case of suspension of a member of the Human Rights Council, as Libya was suspended in 2011 under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. It is also the first time that a suspension has been imposed on a major horsepower.

It is commendable that the international community has demonstrated its position of condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its acts of brutality. It is also commendable that the mechanism for excluding a problematic country from the board worked appropriately.

The resolution will also likely put pressure on other countries such as China, Venezuela and Cuba, which were elected to the council despite criticism for their human rights abuses.

The resolution garnered 93 votes in favor of suspension, while 24 countries voted against and 58 abstained. The number of countries that backed the resolution was fewer than the more than 140 that voted in March in favor of a resolution condemning Russia for its invasion, and a trend of abstaining was seen among the countries that were criticized. for their own human rights situation. .

However, abstentions do not count in votes and therefore have essentially the same implication as a vote in favor of the resolution. Russia reportedly pressured other countries to vote against it, saying it would view abstention as a manifestation of hostile intent.

Despite these efforts, Russia failed to prevent the resolution from passing because only a limited number of countries, such as China and North Korea, voted against it. This is apparently because his army has committed extremely vicious acts such as killing civilians and destroying evidence.

While the UN General Assembly has made its presence felt, the UN Security Council, which is supposed to deal with acts of aggression, remains dysfunctional. The council was not even able to pass a resolution condemning Russia because the country opposes such a move and is a permanent member with veto power.

In his online address to the Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of the devastation in his country and called for reforming the United Nations “so that the right to veto is not a right to kill”. The international community must respond to its plaintive cry.

The permanent members of the Security Council must all recognize that the unchecked use of the right of veto undermines the credibility of the body. The Ukrainian crisis, which has shaken the international order in place since the end of the Second World War, must be an opportunity to reform the Council.

Japan, which has been advocating such a reform for years, should propose concrete discussions on this issue by involving the United States, Great Britain and France.

  • The paper is a member of Asia News Network, media partner of the Straits Times, an alliance of 23 news outlets.
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