The UN General Assembly voted on April 7 to suspend Russia’s membership in the Human Rights Council. Most agreed, with only China being one of the few countries voted down.
The movement came not long after Russia was accused of committing war crimes and massacres of civilians in Ukraine over the past weekend. The UN cited the massacre in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, with photos showing hundreds of civilian bodies on the streets.
Speaking in front of the assembly, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, “We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored.”
Among its 193 members, 93 voted in favor, while 58 countries abstained. China, North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam are among the countries that voted against it.
Beijing has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has repeatedly opposed the Western sanctions on Russia.
According to Bloomberg, the communist government received criticism for its silence on the Ukraine matter during the high-profile meeting with the European Union earlier this month.
Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission, told a plenary session of the European Parliament on April 5, “China wanted to set aside our difference on Ukraine.” Describing the dialogue as “a dialogue of the deaf,” he said, “They didn’t want to talk about Ukraine. They didn’t want to talk about human rights and other issues, and instead focused on the positive things.”
The U.S. and others have pushed China to take a strong stance against the invasion, as its diplomats and state media keep pointing its finger at the U.S. and NATO with accusations saying the two entities were the cause of the Ukraine war.
Borrell said, “The China side stuck to the general statements of wishing to see peace, ‘we are peaceful people, we don’t invade the others,’ while avoiding specific commitments or avoiding also any kind of blame on Russia.”