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The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
Amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which first began when President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border on 24 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for the country to be removed from the United Nations.
The G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, along with the High Representative of the European Union, condemned the actions of Russia in a statement released earlier today (7 April) and called for Russia to be removed from the Human Rights Council.
Now, the UN General Assembly has voted to suspend the country, with 93 votes in favour, 24 against and 58 abstentions.
Following a NATO meeting in Brussels, the G7 ministers said that the group 'condemn[s] in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha and a number of other Ukrainian towns'.
The statement continued: "Haunting images of civilian deaths, victims of torture, and apparent executions, as well as reports of sexual violence and destruction of civilian infrastructure show the true face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and its people.
"The massacres in the town of Bucha and other Ukrainian towns will be inscribed in the list of atrocities and severe violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights, committed by the aggressor on Ukrainian soil."
Expressing its 'heart-felt solidarity' with Ukraine and offering its 'deepest condolences to the victims of this war and their families', the G7 foreign ministers noted their 'readiness to assist further'.
With @G7 Foreign Ministers & @jensstoltenberg, we discussed with @DmytroKuleba how we can further step up our support to #Ukraine— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) April 7, 2022
The war on Ukraine has global security implications, concerning all of us.
Count on our continued international mobilisation and coordinated support pic.twitter.com/p4OUM7rixk
It reflected: "We underscore that those responsible for these heinous acts and atrocities, including any attacks targeting civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure, will be held accountable and prosecuted. We welcome and support the ongoing work to investigate and gather evidence of these and other potential war crimes and crimes against humanity, including by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, the Commission of Inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Monitoring Mission Ukraine of the OHCHR, and the OSCE’s mission of experts mandated by OSCE Participating States.
"We will provide investigative support, technical experts and funding. We will continue to promote accountability for all those complicit in Moscow’s war of choice, including the Lukashenka regime in Belarus. We are convinced that now is the time to suspend Russian membership of the Human Rights Council."
It also called upon Russia to 'immediately comply with the legally binding order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)' by ceasing Putin's 'special military operation' and warned Russia against using any chemical, biological or nuclear weaponry.
President @ZelenskyyUa addressing the UN Security Council: "We are dealing with a state that is turning the veto into the UN Security Council into the right to die. This undermines the whole architecture of global security." #StopRussia— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) April 5, 2022
Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters pic.twitter.com/CgwJaLvHTM
Out of the 47 members of the UN's council, if a majority of two-thirds agrees then a country can be suspended.
The General Assembly is made up of 193 members.
Ahead of the vote, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told Reuters: "It is important to say (to Russia) 'we're not going to allow you to continue to act with such impunity and pretend that you respect human rights'."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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