Speed Reads

after bucha

Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted 93-24 to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over allegations of war crimes and rights violations in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reports. 

There were 58 abstentions, and a two-thirds majority was needed, Axios notes. For context, 141 countries voted last month in favor of a resolution "deploring" Russia's invasion and demanding the complete withdrawal of Kremlin troops from Ukraine.

Russia is now the second country to lose its Human Rights Council membership since the assembly's inception in 2006. In 2011, Libya was suspended from the council during then-leader Moammar Gaddafi's crackdown on anti-government protests, AP writes.

The vote to suspend Russia arrives after reports of an alleged civilian massacre emerged out of the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, Ukraine last weekend. "The deaths have sparked global revulsion and calls for tougher sanctions on Russia, which has vehemently denied its troops were responsible," AP writes. 

On Tuesday, in an address before the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky compared the atrocities in Bucha to the actions of terrorist groups like the Islamic State.

Ahead of Thursday's vote, Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, urged all UN member states to move in favor of suspension, CNN reports.

"Now the world has come to a crucial juncture. We witness that our liner is going through treacherous fog towards deadly icebergs," Kyslytsya said, per CNN. "It might seem that we should have named it the Titanic instead of the Human Rights Council. ... We need to take an action today to save the council from sinking."