On Friday, a very shocking thing happened at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – Russia was voted out of the 47-member council.
The UN general Assembly elected 14 members. Russia received 112 votes, two short of Croatia which got into the club. Hungary, which has acted as one of the gateways for refugees from Syria and North Africa streaming into Europe, got 144 votes.
Though Russia downplayed the matter, it did not fail to point out what exactly favoured Croatia and Hungary.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, said: “It was a very close vote and very good countries competing, Croatia, Hungary. They are fortunate because of their size, they are not exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is very exposed. We’ve been on council a number of years, I’m sure next time we’ll get in.”
Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, praised the decision, “In rejecting Russia’s bid for re-election to the Human Rights Council, UN member states have sent a strong message to the Kremlin about its support for a regime that has perpetrated so much atrocity in Syria.”
Russia, which is supporting the Assad regime in Syria, has been at the receiving end of a concerted campaign led by Western powers which support the Syrian rebels.
But unlike the Western powers, Russia has been most effective in almost bringing to an end the Islamic State in Syria.
Russia launched missiles and air-strikes against Islamic State strongholds in the region, helping – rather indirectly – the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the ground.
In fact, if it were not for Russia’s campaign against the Islamic State, the war against the barbaric terror group would not have reached anywhere close to where it is today.
Yet the West, particularly the US, sees Russia as an enemy. Editorials and prominent publications vilify Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The sad truth is that the UNHRC elected Saudi Arabia to the council. Though Human rights organisations are not fond of Russia, they also accuse Riyadh of committing war crimes in their operation in Yemen.
But war crimes aside, Saudi Arabia has the world’s worst record of human rights. Women in Saudi Arabia have the least rights in the world. Beheadings are common in the Kingdom – around 150 were executed in 2015 alone.
Expressing shock at Saudi Arabia’s inclusion Daoud Khairallah, International Law professor at Georgetown University, said, “It absolutely defies any logic that a country like Saudi Arabia — with a consistent record of violating international law, any kind of civil law inside the kingdom and beyond, a promoter of terrorism — is being re-elected a member of the human rights body.”
Opposition to Saudi Arabia due to its deplorable human rights record also came from Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
IHRC spokesperson Raza Kazim told RT, “We’ve seen it (Saudi Arabia) causing extensive damage to schools, to hospitals, to head teachers, to people’s homes; children being killed, just a general population being killed in Yemen next-door to it. What we’ve seen is a blockade of any humanitarian aid going into the country, so that people are dying of acute malnutrition.”
He also pointed out to Saudi Arabia’s link with terrorism particularly ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.