After Russia was expelled from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) due to its invasion of Ukraine last year, the country is now seeking renewed membership. Diplomats from Russia hope that their country will be elected to the council for a new three-year term. The vote, due next month, is seen as an indicator of Russia’s international standing after a prolonged period of isolation.
Moscow is struggling to restore its global reputation
In a document obtained by the BBC, Moscow sets out its desire to find “appropriate solutions to human rights issues” in the Council. They express concerns that the UNHRC could become an instrument of political power games. Metro reports that Russia will face Albania and Bulgaria in the October 10 election for two seats reserved for Central and Eastern European countries. It is said that Russia is trying to restore its international reputation through this move, especially after allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine.
Human rights groups question Russia’s suitability for the UNHRC
Metro also highlights that allegations against Russia recently submitted to the UNHRC provide new evidence of Russia’s mistreatment of Ukrainian civilians. Three prominent human rights organizations concluded that Russia was unsuitable for membership in the Human Rights Council. They argue that re-electing Russia to the Council while the conflict with Ukraine is still ongoing would be counterproductive.
Lammy warns against Russia’s return to the UN Human Rights Council
David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, highlights Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine and points to International Criminal Court charges against Russia for war crimes, according to Metro. He expressed concerns that Russia’s return to the Council would be a step backwards for the concept of human rights and called for international cooperation to uphold the UN’s core values. In the last vote, 93 members voted in favor of expelling Russia, 24 voted against and 58 abstained.