Russia’s war in Ukraine looms large as the UN Human Rights Council meets today, with calls for unity to condemn Moscow and extend an investigation into war crimes in the conflict.
Days after the UN General Assembly in New York voted overwhelmingly to demand Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine, the war in Moscow is expected to dominate the opening of the main annual session of the UN’s top human rights body in Geneva.
“We’re looking for this session to show, as the UN General Assembly showed… that the world stands side-by-side with Ukraine,” British ambassador Simon Manley, reports RTE.
The meeting, which will last a record six weeks, will be the first to be chaired by the new UN human rights chief, Volker Turk.
UN chief Antonio Guterres will also address the council on the first day, reprots RTE.
Among them will be Tánaiste Mícheál Martin, top diplomats from the US, China, Ukraine and Iran.
Mr. Martin expressed Ireland’s concerns regarding shrinking civic space, regressing progress on the rights of women and LGBTI+ people, and the impact of the conflict on the enjoyment and realization of human rights at the national level. world.
Moscow will send Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to address the council in person on Thursday.
Despite calls from NGOs, observers said it was unlikely there would be a strike like the one many diplomats participated in when video of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was played at the council last year.
However, several diplomats suggested that other steps could be taken to convey their disapproval.
There is no shortage of other pressing human rights issues for the council to address, with Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and Israel among the country issues on the agenda.
Now Addis Ababa is working to end the team’s mandate prematurely, saying it is no longer needed following a peace agreement signed last year, reports RTE.
“We object to the precedent it would set, and we don’t think it would be helpful to your current process,” US Ambassador Michele Taylor said.
Amnesty International chief Agnes Callamard warned that such a move would “would mark an unconscionable betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of victims in Ethiopia”, reports RTE.
That and other resolutions will be voted on during the last days of the session, which should conclude on April 4.
A key resolution will be to expand a high-level investigation into crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The commission must continue its important work, which is of paramount importance for the principles of accountability and justice”, ambassador Filipenko told reporters, reports RTE.
However, there are concerns that further strengthening the text could cost it votes in the 47-member council, diminishing the sense that the council stands united in its opposition to Russia’s actions.
Last year, 32 council members voted to create the commission, with only Russia itself and Eritrea voting against it and 13 countries abstaining.
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