Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ukraine, China in focus at UN human rights council meeting

More than 100 heads of state
and ministers will take part in the UN Human Rights Council
session in Geneva, seeking to tackle issues
ranging from Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine to China’s
treatment of its Muslim minority.

During the session, which opens on Monday and runs until
April 4, many states will seek to extend the mandate of a UN
investigation body set up to probe atrocities in Ukraine.

Kiev, which has called for the establishment of a special
tribunal to prosecute Russia’s political and military leadership
over the invasion, has said the body was essential to ensure
Russia is held accountable for its crimes.

“We believe that it should be both a technical extension of
the mandate but also substantially strengthen the text,”
Yevheniia Filipenko, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the
United Nations Office in Geneva, told reporters on Friday.

Kiev and its allies are disgruntled by the participation of
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who will address
the council on Thursday.

It will be the first time a Russian official from Moscow has attended in person since the war began a year ago. Russia, which denies committing war crimes or targeting civilians in Ukraine, was suspended from the council in April but can still take part as an observer.

Western diplomats have been publicly tight-lipped on their reaction to Ryabkov’s presence after staging a walkout during a speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the council last year over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

Filipenko said Ukraine did not welcome Russia’s presence and would “act accordingly,” without giving details.

READ MORE: Erdogan calls for ‘just peace’ in Ukraine in phone call with Putin

Shining a spotlight on China

The Geneva-based UN human rights council is the only
body made up of governments to protect human rights worldwide.

It does not have legally binding powers but its debates often
bring heightened scrutiny to issues and it can spur
investigations that feed evidence to national and international

Other high-level foreign ministers due to attend its
latest session include Iran’s Hossein Amirabdollahian, Germany’s
Annalena Baerbock and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

Countries also will closely watch how Volker Turk, UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights since October, refers to China
after his predecessor Michelle Bachelet was accused by some
rights groups of being too soft on Beijing.

A UN report published last year found that the detention
of Uyghurs and other Muslims by China may constitute crimes
against humanity. Beijing denies any abuses.

The council is not expected to pursue a China motion this time around after a Western-led bid to hold a debate on China’s treatment of its Muslim minorities failed last year.

Michele Taylor, US ambassador to the council, told journalists that Washington will “continue to shine a spotlight” on China and was in talks on how to do so.

Erdogan: Türkiye to continue efforts for Russia-Ukraine peace

More from EuropeMore posts in Europe »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *