UN body votes to establish human rights investigator in Russia, protests in Moscow

The move follows tougher Russian laws this year to punish people who Moscow says discredit the armed forces or spread false information, and the forced closure of human rights groups including Memorial, who won the Nobel Peace Prize.

GENEVA, Switzerland — A UN human rights body comfortably passed a motion on Friday, October 7 to appoint a new independent expert on alleged human rights abuses in Russia, accusing Moscow of creating a ” climate of fear” through repression and violence.

The Russian government quickly made it known that it would not cooperate with the expert.

Members voted 17 for and 6 against, with 24 abstentions. This is the first time the 16-year-old Human Rights Council (HRC) has appointed a special rapporteur to examine the rights record of one of its so-called “P5” members, who hold seats permanent members of the Security Council. .

“We want to make it clear today that we have not forgotten those who are fighting for freedom at home as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin suppresses the Russian people and carries out aggression abroad,” he said. said British Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Simon Manley. , told Reuters just after the vote.

Nearly 50 countries have presented the motion, including Britain, all European Union countries except Hungary, as well as the United States, Ukraine, Japan and Colombia. China was among the opponents.

The move follows stronger Russian laws this year to punish people, according to Moscow, discredit the armed forces or spread false information, and the forced closure of human rights groups, including Memorialwho won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said it strongly rejected the resolution on the grounds that it contained false allegations, the Tass news agency reported.

“Russia … will ignore the special mechanism established by the HRC and refuse to cooperate with it,” Tass said, quoting the ministry.

Tatiana Glushkova, a lawyer at the Memorial Human Rights Centre, told Reuters she was happy with the outcome but expected access difficulties for the special rapporteur. “We don’t even dream of them being invited to Russia,” she said.

Moscow has previously called criticism of its national rights record unfounded and denied targeting civilians in Ukraine where it says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to destroy military infrastructure.

The 47-member council is deeply divided, with a growing chorus of countries led by Russia and China opposing any action against specific countries, which they say amounts to political interference.

Friday’s victory is a relief for Western countries after the Historic defeat of a Chinese movement Thursday, October 6. – Rappler.com

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