UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly passed the Western resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council during a special session Thursday. A total of 93 votes were cast in favor of the resolution, with 24 against, while 58 delegations abstained from the vote.
In order for the resolution to pass, two thirds of votes are needed, and votes of those who abstained are not taken into account, which makes the total number of counted votes 117; 93 is more than two thirds of that number, which made it possible for the resolution to pass.
Russian representatives said earlier that they view such steps as politically motivated, adding that they threaten to destroy the entire UN system. The suspension will only affect the current membership, which, for Russia, ends in 2023. After that, Russia may once again apply for membership in the Human Rights Council.
The following countries voted against the resolution: Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Vietnam, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos, Mali, Nicaragua, the Republic of Congo, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Consequences of suspension
The UN Human Rights Council includes 47 members, which means most UN member states are not currently included in this body. Since its established in 2006, not all countries have been its members yet. There is no permanent membership in the council. Its decisions are no legally binding; at the same time, a suspension of membership does not mean that a country in question is freed of its obligations in the human rights area.
Between 2017 and 2019, Russia was not a member due to the council’s rotation of membership. In 2018, the US withdrew from the council under a decision of then-President Donald Trump, but returned after Trump was succeeded by Joe Biden.
Human Rights Council member states vote on resolutions in human rights area. No member has a veto power. Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out repeatedly that the Council is highly politicized and is being used by Western countries in their own interests.
Following a suspension, a country is stripped of its voting power, but can still attend the meetings.