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UN adopts resolution to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | | Updated: 2022-04-08 09:41
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An emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Ukraine is held at the UN headquarters in New York, Feb 28, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution that allows the assembly to suspend the membership rights of the Russian Federation on the UN Human Rights Council.

The resolution was approved with two-thirds of the eligible members voting in favor in the US-led push, which garnered 93 votes in favor, 24 against and 58 abstentions.

China voted against the resolution.

The resolution will deprive a country's legitimate membership in the Human Rights Council, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN.

"Such an important matter must be handled with the utmost delicacy, calmly, objectively and rationally, on the basis of facts and truth."

Zhang said the resolution "was not drafted in an open and transparent manner, nor did it follow the tradition of holding consultations within the whole membership to heed the broadest opinions".

"Under such circumstances, such a hasty move at the General Assembly, which forces countries to choose sides, will aggravate the division among member states and intensify the contradictions between the parties concerned. It is like adding fuel to the fire, which is not conducive to the de-escalation of conflicts, and even less so to advancing the peace talks," he said.

Zhang said approaching membership on the Human Rights Council in such a way "would set a new and dangerous precedent, further intensify the confrontations in the field of human rights, bring a greater impact on the UN governance system and produce serious consequences".

"Therefore, China will have to vote against this draft resolution," Zhang said before the vote.

"On the Ukraine issue, China always believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, should be respected, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld, that the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and that all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported," he said.

He reiterated that putting an early end to the fight is the urgent expectation of the international community. "It is also what China is striving for. China supports all initiatives and measures that will help ease the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine," he said.

China calls on all parties concerned to respect international humanitarian law and take concrete actions to ensure the safety of civilians and protect the basic rights and humanitarian needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups, Zhang said.

"The reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha (in Ukraine) are disturbing. The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident must be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts. Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations," Zhang said.

Zhang emphasized that dialogue and negotiation are the only way out of the Ukraine crisis. China always believes that the international community should remain rational and strengthen unity instead of setting up obstacles, let alone "adding fuel to the fire" by aggravating confrontations, he said.

"We regret to see that the conflict has caused civilian casualties and massive displacements and that the all-dimensional, indiscriminate and bottomless sanctions have brought serious, negative impact on the post-pandemic recovery, creating new and complex problems, reversing hard-won development gains, and making the realization of the 2030 Agenda even more difficult," said Zhang.

He pointed out that life amid the COVID-19 pandemic has become even more difficult, and while developing countries are not parties to the conflict, they are forced to get involved in this geopolitical competition and great-power rivalry, which is unfair.

"Some individual countries, while talking loudly about peace, are obsessed with creating bloc confrontations, including provoking tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. This self-contradictory and inconsistent approach is very dangerous and worrying and should be resolutely rejected," said Zhang.

China firmly opposes the politicization or instrumentalization of human rights issues, he said. It opposes selective and confrontational approaches, double standards on human rights issues, and the exertion of pressure on other countries in the name of human rights, he said.

"China calls on all parties to work together in the same direction, so as to create opportunities for peace and prospects for negotiation. China will continue to hold an objective and impartial position and play its responsible and constructive role in this regard," said Zhang.

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