UNHRC Debate on Ukraine

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to have an urgent debate on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, further isolating Russia, which had previously resisted Ukraine’s efforts to bring attention to war crimes.

Overview:

  • Russia’s aggression against Ukraine dominated the start of the United Nations’ main annual session in Geneva, Switzerland, with countries rallying behind Ukraine’s demand to bring Russia’s actions to the spotlight.
  • Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Geneva talked about how Russia’s attack was not only an attack on Ukraine but on every UN member state.
  • Russia, which has become an international pariah due to the invasion rejected the call for a debate and demanded a vote on the issue. However, Ukraine’s request was backed by 29 of the council’s 47 members, with only five voting against it, including Russia and China. Thirteen countries, largely from Africa, abstained from voting.
  • A draft resolution was presented by Ukraine for discussion during the debate, calling for a high-level investigation into all alleged violations committed in the war, which dates back to 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and backed a separatist movement in Ukraine’s east.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s address to the council

In protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 100 ambassadors from more than 40 nations walked out of a speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov justifying Russia’s attack on Ukraine at the United Nations in Geneva. Only a few diplomats remained after a boycott by envoys from the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and other countries.

About United Nations Human Rights Council

UNHRC is a United Nations organization whose objective is to protect and promote human rights across the world. This council has 47 elected members who are chosen for a three-year term. The Council’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Federico Villegas is the council’s President.

The Council investigates allegations of human rights violations in member states of the United Nations and addresses thematic human rights issues such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, women’s rights, freedom of belief and religion, racial and ethnic minorities’ rights, and LGBT rights.

The United Nations General Assembly formed the Council on 15 March 2006 to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

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