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BBC: Russia aims to rejoin UN’s human rights council

In the disclosed position paper, Russia articulates its desire to promote a “cooperative” and “constructively mutually respectful dialogue” in the UN’s human rights council.
The Alley of the Flags at the United Nations HQ in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council meets. Credit: Reuters
BBC: Russia aims to rejoin UN’s human rights council

To restore its standing on the international stage, Russia aims to return to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), from which it was expelled in April 2022 following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. With elections for the council slated for next month, Russian diplomats are campaigning for a fresh three-year term, according to documents reviewed by the BBC.

The position paper circulating among UN members underscores Russia’s pledge to uncover “adequate solutions for human rights issues.” It further condemns the council’s transformation into an “instrument which serves political wills of one group of countries,” a veiled criticism of Western countries.

The upcoming election is deemed a critical gauge of Russia’s global standing, especially following accusations of human rights abuses in Ukraine and within its own territory. Diplomats have pinpointed Russia’s objective: regaining some semblance of international credibility.

War crimes dossier to accuse Russia of using hunger as weapon in Ukraine

Erik Mose, chair of the commission overseeing the council’s election, highlighted ongoing evidence of war crimes, including torture, rape, and assaults on civilians. Similarly, a recent report by the UN’s special rapporteur for Russia, Mariana Katzarova, noted a “significant” deterioration in the human rights scenario within Russia, with critics of the Ukraine invasion facing arbitrary arrests, torture, and ill-treatment.

As the UNHRC election looms, set for 10 October, Russia is vying for one of two seats reserved for central and eastern European countries, contending with Albania and Bulgaria. The ballot will engage all 193 members of the UN General Assembly in New York, where diplomats assert that Russia’s aggressive campaigning, which reportedly includes offering grain and arms to smaller nations in exchange for votes, might just swing the election in its favor.

In the disclosed position paper, Russia articulates its desire to foster a “cooperative” and “constructively mutually respectful dialogue” in the UN’s human rights council.

In April 2022, 93 members of the UN General Assembly voted for Russia’s suspension from the UN’s Human Rights Council, while 24 members opposed it, and 58 abstained. In its position paper, Russia lays the blame squarely on “the United States and its allies” for losing its membership.

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