Rus­sia un­der fire at Hu­man Rights Coun­cil over Aleppo

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

RUS­SIA’S seat on the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil is un­der threat due to its sup­port of the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment’s air cam­paign in Aleppo.

More than 80 hu­man rights and aid or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing Hu­man Rights Watch, CARE In­ter­na­tional and Refugees In­ter­na­tional, have urged UN mem­ber states to drop Rus­sia from the Genev­abased Hu­man Rights Coun­cil over its mil­i­tary cam­paign in Syria.

In a joint state­ment pub­lished on Mon­day, the or­gan­i­sa­tions urged UN mem­ber states to “ques­tion se­ri­ously whether Rus­sia’s role in Syria — which in­cludes sup­port­ing and un­der­tak­ing mil­i­tary ac­tions which have rou­tinely tar­geted civil­ians and civil­ian ob­jects — ren­ders it fit to serve on the UN’s premier in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal hu­man rights in­sti­tu­tion”.

“Rus­sia’s gross dis­re­gard for civil­ian lives in Syria and its re­spon­si­bil­ity for il­le­gal at­tacks makes it un­fit to serve on the coun­cil,” Louis Char­bon­neau of Hu­man Rights Watch, the US-based rights watch­dog, told Al Jazeera. “It is com­plaisant in Syr­ian gov­ern­ment war crimes. “Rus­sia con­tin­ues to sell arms to the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment de­spite its hor­rific abuses in­clud­ing the use of chem­i­cal weapons.”

Elec­tions to fill 14 seats at the 47-na­tion Hu­man Rights Coun­cil will take place at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly to­mor­row.

Cre­ated in 2006, the coun­cil mon­i­tors vi­o­la­tions and in par­tic­u­lar set up a ground-break­ing com­mis­sion of in­quiry on North Korea that led to calls for war-crimes pros­e­cu­tions of the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment.

The coun­cil last week asked the com­mis­sion of in­quiry for Syria to carry out a special in­ves­ti­ga­tion of rights abuses in Aleppo.

Rus­sia, Hun­gary and Croa­tia will be run­ning for two seats rep­re­sent­ing the Eastern Euro­pean group at the coun­cil, which is en­trusted with ad­dress­ing rights vi­o­la­tions world­wide.

“Rus­sia is not the only can­di­date coun­try fac­ing crit­i­cism,” Al Jazeera’s Diplo­matic Ed­i­tor James Bays, re­port­ing from Geneva, said.

“Cam­paign­ers point to the poor hu­man rights records of China and Egypt and civil­ian ca­su­al­ties caused by Saudi Ara­bia as the lead­ing mem­ber of the coali­tion in Ye­men.”

Rus­sia has been sup­port­ing Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s war against op­po­si­tion fight­ers and the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL) group since Septem­ber 2015. — Al Jazeera

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