EU Statement – UN General Assembly : After the vote on the resolution on Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council

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7 April 2022, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly 11th Emergency Special Session: after the vote on the Resolution on the suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council.

Mr President,

I have the privilege to address the General Assembly on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino align themselves with this statement.

 

The scale and gravity of Russia’s violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as the violations of the UN Charter and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of another State, call for strong united international response.

Russia is responsible for a horrific number of casualties, suffering, forced displacements, and relentlessly Russian armed forced have been shelling cities, schools, hospitals for more than one month now.

The Russian authorities are responsible for the crimes committed while they had effective control of the area. They are subject to the international law of occupation.

The European Union supports all measures to ensure accountability for human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine by Russian armed forces. The perpetrators of war crimes and other serious violations as well as the responsible government officials and military leaders will be held accountable.

Today, this Assembly has decided that, for now, the Russian Federation cannot remain a member of the Human Rights Council. Membership in the HRC is and shall remain open to all States Members of the United Nations. But HRC members commit to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights. Russia has violated those criteria through its actions in Ukraine.

The decision to suspend the Russian Federation, which the EU and its Member States have supported today, implements the 2006 General Assembly resolution establishing the Human Rights Council, which foresees suspension of members that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights.

Suspension is necessary to uphold the integrity of the Human Rights Council, the authority of the General Assembly, and the credibility of the UN Human Rights System. The rare decision this Assembly has taken today sends a strong signal of accountability and hopefully will help preventing and discouraging more violations of human rights.

For the third time in a month, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on Ukraine by a clear majority. Once again, the international community stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and all other people affected by the war of Russian aggression. Once again, the international community strongly calls on Russia to cease the destruction of innocent lives across Ukraine and immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops.

While the Security Council remains unable to take action, the General Assembly has demonstrated the strength of international support towards addressing the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Thank you.

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