In the wake US claims of Russian war crimes in Syria, the United Nations General Assembly voted Russia off the UN Human Rights Council during a general vote this week. The United States was re-elected to its position on the council.
Forty-seven countries participated votes on Russia’s continued involvment, with only 2 votes more to kick Russia off than to keep them on. Some participants termed the vote “historic.”
This is the first time Russia has not been part of the UNHRC since the council’s inception in 2006.
80 different human rights organizations signed a petition asking Russia be removed from UNHRC after Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war caused many to believe Russia is guilty of war crimes.
Akshay Kumar, vice president of the “Human Rights Watch” said, “It’s difficult to imagine that the horrors of what’s happening in Aleppo didn’t cross the minds of those who abstained from voting.”
However, despite harsh criticism from many human rights organizations regarding Saudi Arabia’s actions in the Yemeni civil war, the country kept its place on the Human Rights Council. Saudi Arabia regularly beheads and tortures people, including minors.