The session of the UN Human Rights Council begins
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be the focus of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session starting on Monday, which will culminate in the release of an inquiry into war crimes committed in the country.
Iran, Ethiopia, Syria, Haiti, Nicaragua…, many situations of human rights violations will enliven discussions in Geneva for almost six weeks against a backdrop of strong international tensions.
Nearly 150 senior leaders – an unprecedented number – will speak Monday through Thursday, including the heads of French, American, Chinese, Iranian and Ukrainian diplomats.
Moscow is expected to send its deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabko, on Thursday. Despite calls from NGOs, it is far from certain that ambassadors will leave the room during his speech, as his leader Sergey Lavrov did last year, who intervened via video conference.
“We can expect very strong talks, some differences.”Swiss ambassador Jürg Lauber warned.
The tone will be set on Monday by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Dürk in much-anticipated speeches on the war in Ukraine after the adoption, last week, by a majority of the population. The resolution of the UN General Assembly should be withdrawn “immediately” Russian troops.
Tensions will be high at the end of the session during a vote on the continuation of the work of Ukraine-related investigators, who will submit their first written report on March 20 after already reporting on war crimes in September.
Ukrainian Ambassador Yevhenia Filipenko made a plea. “reinforcement” of the resolution defining the investigators’ mandate, but it is not certain that the final text reflects this desire, as Kiev and its Western allies must convince some countries reluctant to criticize Moscow not to increase the number of non-withdrawals.
For Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard, the Russian invasion underscores “Weakening an international system based on the rule of law”. For this reason and face “Large scale violations committed by Russian forces in the context of the conflict”She invites HRC to adopt “firm state”.
The renewal of the mandate of the rapporteur on the human rights situation in Russia is also subject to intense debate.
For its part, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Sunday that Russian forces had committed 71,586 war crimes and crimes of aggression in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. Ukrainian law enforcement has said at least 461 children have been killed and at least 927 injured in the war over the past year.
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