Attacks in Ukraine: The UN tightens its grip on Moscow

The UN Human Rights Council tightened its grip on Russia on Thursday by overwhelmingly approving the opening of an investigation into atrocities blamed on Russian occupying forces.

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“At the same time, UN officials in New York called for an end to the bombing of schools in Ukraine and condemned their use for military purposes.

“In Geneva, during a special session, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution against Russia by 33 votes in favour, 2 against (China and Eritrea) and 12 abstentions (including India, Senegal and Cameroon).

It calls on the international commission to conduct an “investigation” into gross human rights abuses committed by Russian forces in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions in late February and March 2022 “in order to hold them accountable.”

“At the end of a first meeting on March 4, Kyiv managed to adopt a resolution deciding to urgently set up an independent international commission of inquiry into the situation in Ukraine since the February 24 invasion.

“Since then, the proliferation in the international media of photos taken in Boutcha, showing bodies in the street, some tied behind their backs or partially burned, and mass graves, has triggered a wave of international condemnation.

“Further atrocities were uncovered elsewhere in the country, prompting Ukraine to demand ‘one more step’ from the Council.

The resolution passed on Thursday also calls on Moscow to ensure that international organizations, including those of the UN, “have prompt and unimpeded access to people transferred from conflict-affected regions of Ukraine and detained in Russia.” Territories controlled by his forces.

“The text also calls on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to take stock of the situation in Mariupol, now almost completely under the control of Russian forces, during the 50th session of the Council (from 13 June to 8 July). .

“Before the vote, Ukraine and its allies spent hours denouncing “the endless list” of abuses committed by Russia, which boycotted the debates.

“Torture and enforced disappearances, sexual and gender-based violence, the list of Russian crimes is endless,” Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said in a video address.

“Every day, Russian aggression is accompanied by discoveries that are more and more macabre and intolerable,” said French Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont.

“This resolution “aims to hold accountable all those responsible for these atrocities,” he said before the vote, assuring that “the international community cannot remain silent.”

Ms. Bachelet said her office continues to verify allegations of abuse, “many of which may amount to war crimes,” and denounced the “unimaginable horrors” being endured by Mariupol residents.

“The scale of illegal executions, including evidence of summary executions in areas north of Kyiv, is shocking,” she said, adding that she currently has information on 300 cases.

“This was the first meeting devoted to the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine since the UN General Assembly suspended Moscow from the international organization’s highest body on human rights issues in early April.

“Russia can participate in the work of the Council as an observer, but on Thursday opted for the empty chair policy and waived its right of reply.

“In order not to leave the field completely to his opponents, the Russian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, published a press release in which he denounced “the demonization of Russia by the collective West”, spoke of an investigation into the excesses and these denounced Council which has become a forum “to take political action”.

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