After the UNSC, India abstains from voting in the UNHRC on Ukraine-related issues

Following New York, India abstained in a vote in a UN forum in Geneva on another Ukraine-related issue. On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolved to start an urgent debate on Ukraine, which will include a resolution calling for an investigation into suspected human rights breaches.

Russian forces were seeking “to cause terror among the people by particularly targeting kindergartens and orphanages, hospitals, and mobile medical aid brigades, therefore committing acts that may amount to war crimes,” Ukraine’s permanent delegation to the United Nations in Geneva stated before the vote.

On February 25, the head of the Human Rights Council, Federico Villegas, announced that he had received a letter from Ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko demanding that the Council hold an urgent debate on Ukraine’s human rights. The European Union and the United States both backed this initiative.

According to Filipenko, Russia’s attack was directed not only at Russia, but also at “every UN member state, the United Nations, and the principles that this organization was founded to preserve.”

Russia’s envoy, Gennady Gatilov, said his country had initiated “special operations” in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbas area to “end the catastrophe,” and that Russian forces were not firing on civilian targets in the country.

The resolution at UNHRC was approved by 29 of the Council’s 47 members, with thirteen countries, including India, abstaining. Russia, China, Eritrea, Cuba, and Venezuela were the five countries that voted against the call for an urgent debate. Armenia, Gabon, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Namibia, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan were among the countries that did not vote.

UNHRC will start an urgent debate on Thursday

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will convene an urgent debate on Thursday, where it may take up a draught resolution offered by Ukraine, which calls for a high-level investigation into alleged Russian violations dating back to 2014.

The vote occurred shortly after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an emergency General Assembly session to tackle the Ukraine crisis due to a lack of consensus among permanent members. Russia has already vetoed a draught resolution drafted by the United States and Albania on February 25.

India had voted no on both recent Security Council votes, stating that the door to negotiation needed to remain open. China and the United Arab Emirates were also absent from the UNSC vote. While the UAE remained steady, China switched their vote in Geneva from an abstention in New York to a “no.”

The debate on Ukraine will take place on Thursday, following the council’s five-week high-level session, during which ministers and top officials from over 140 countries will speak. This week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to speak at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and attend disarmament negotiations in Geneva. However, his journey was canceled, according to Russian news agencies, since the European Union had blocked its airspace to Russian flights as part of sanctions against Moscow. 

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