Russia wants a spot on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) following the US’s withdrawal on June 19, 2018.
Russia quickly swooped in on the empty seat and put forward its candidacy for a three-year term starting in 2021.
“The UNHRC operates on the basis of the principles of impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, constructive dialogue and cooperation. It is a UN body that, like the entire UN system, is called upon to serve all Member States, not just one country or group of countries,” Russia’s UN mission said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our colleagues in Washington do not understand this or do not recognize it.”
Russia added that the US had attempted to use the council as an “obedient tool to promote only their interests” and punish unfavorable countries.
“Against this background, attempts by the US to blame the politicization of the work of the Council and the failure of its initiative by almost the whole world, including its traditional allies, seem cynical,” it said.
The US officially pulled out from the UNHRC on June 19, 2018, for being a “cesspool of political bias,” particularly against its ally Israel.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a press conference that the move was “not a retreat from human rights commitments,” and blasted the 47-member council as “a hypocritical and self serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”
The human rights arm of the United Nations was established in 2006. Members grouped by region are voted in by the General Assembly for three year terms, and can be suspended if they are found to grossly violate human rights during their tenure.
Russia previously served one term on the council but lost its reelection in 2016 because of its support for the Assad regime’s war in Syria.
Other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and China, have been criticized by rights groups for their places on the council despite their systematic violations of human rights.
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