Russia hopes to return to the UN Human Rights Council next week. Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations expelled Russia from this important body by a large majority vote. According to Reuters, Russia has a “reasonable chance” to regain its place in the secret ballot that will be held next Tuesday.
The vote is seen as a major test of the West’s efforts to isolate Russia internationally. By pointing out the West’s alleged hypocrisy, Russia will attempt to enlist the voices of African, Asian, and other non-Western countries behind the scenes. Russia’s UN ambassador says the Human Rights Council should not be used to “settle political scores.”
The Human Rights Council is an important oversight body for human rights compliance around the world. Because the Human Rights Council does not have legally binding powers, Russia’s suspension was essentially a symbolic measure. A country has only been expelled from the Council once before: in 2011, the United Nations suspended Libya’s dictator Gaddafi.
A three-year seat on the Human Rights Council is at stake in Tuesday’s vote. The Council consists of 47 of the 193 member states of the United Nations. There are two places at stake for the Eastern European nations on Tuesday. In addition to Russia, Bulgaria and Albania also claim these places.
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