UPDATE Oct 13, 2020
Russia just won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, getting the vote of 158 member states of the UN General Assembly.
The fact that a state that has committed gross and systematic human rights violations can run unopposed, and win, is an utter disregard of Russia’s victims and a major blow to the credibility and independence of the Human Rights Council.
Thank you to every person who signed and shared the petition. Together we will continue to demand that UN member states hold Russia to the highest standard in the promotion and protection of human rights. The next time a Russian warplane drops bombs on civilians, the General Assembly must be prepared to suspend Russia’s membership at the Human Rights Council.
In a few days Russia could be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
How could a state that has deliberately targeted hospitals and bombed Syrian civilians, illegally annexed Crimea, and perpetrated ethnic cleansing in Georgia, win a seat at the world’s top human rights body? It is running unopposed.
If Putin gets the seat, he will have even more power to silence victims of Russian bombs and persecution, and protect himself and mass murderers such as Bashar al-Assad from accountability. Russia will see its election as a green light to continue gross and systematic abuses of human rights at home and internationally.
This cannot be allowed to happen.
Sign the petition to add your voice to 40 Syrian, Georgian, Ukrainian, and international organizations calling on UN member states to vote against Russia’s candidacy.
The Human Rights Council was established by the UN General Assembly to confront human rights violations and protect human rights around the world. In Syria it has played a vital role in independently investigating war crimes and violations of international human rights law, including those committed by Russia.
But today the Council’s credibility and independence are on the line. Council seats are allocated to five regional groups and this year the Eastern Europe group put forward just two candidates for its two open seats. This virtually grants Russia a seat at the Human Rights Council without scrutiny or challenge.
Russia has already used its veto power at the UN Security Council to block any challenge to its human rights violations. We can’t let them hamstring the Human Rights Council as well.
Tell UN member states: international human rights abusers do not belong on the Human Rights Council.
All 193 members of the UN General Assembly get to vote in the Human Rights Council’s election. Let’s urge them to protect the Council’s integrity.
Read the open letter and see the list of Syrian, Ukrainian and Georgian organisations here.
Artwork by Omar Almasri