The US is pushing to expel Russia from the UN human rights body

An overview of the special session on the situation in Ukraine of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

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BUCHAREST, April 4 (Reuters) – The United States will ask the UN General Assembly to bar Russia from the Human Rights Council, the US ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday, after Ukraine accused Russian troops of killing dozens of civilians in the Having killed city of Bucha.

A two-thirds majority of the 193-member New York assembly can suspend a state if it persistently commits gross and systematic human rights abuses.

“Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce,” said US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield during a visit to Romania.

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“And it’s wrong, which is why we believe it’s about time the UN General Assembly voted to remove it.”

Thomas-Greenfield said she wants to vote this week.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the assembly has passed two resolutions condemning Russia by 140 votes in favor. Moscow says it is conducting a “special operation” to demilitarize Ukraine.

“My message to the 140 countries that bravely stood together is that the images from Bucha and the devastation in Ukraine demand that we now put our money where our mouth is,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters during a visit to Romania .

Ambassador of Russia to the United Nations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said that such an initiative is unlikely to find a majority.

“Washington is taking advantage of the Ukraine crisis to either expel or suspend Russia from international organizations, including the Human Rights Council here in Geneva,” Gatilov said.

Russia is in the second year of a three-year term on the 47-member council, which cannot make legally binding decisions, but its decisions send important political messages and it can authorize investigations.

Last month it launched an investigation into alleged rights violations, including possible war crimes, in Ukraine since the Russian invasion. 32 deputies voted in favor of the resolution tabled by Ukraine. Russia and Eritrea voted against, 13, including China, abstained.

Bucha’s deputy mayor said around 50 bodies found after Russian forces withdrew were victims of extrajudicial killings by Russian forces. Continue reading

Reuters was unable to independently verify who was responsible for the killing of these Bucha residents.

Ukrainian authorities said they were investigating possible war crimes there. The Kremlin denied allegations related to the killing of civilians in the city.

The United States has declared that war crimes were being committed in Ukraine, and US experts have gathered evidence to prove it.

The General Assembly previously expelled a country from the Council. In March 2011, she unanimously suspended Libya over violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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Reporting by Michelle Nichols, additional reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva; Adaptation by John Stonestreet and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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