International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Russia’s Bid for Human Rights Council

(New York City) On October 28, the United Nations General Assembly will select new members for the Human Rights Council. Russia is running for a chance to represent Eastern Europe at the council (against Croatia and Hungary), which has two available seats. But the crime that they have committed in Aleppo has put them under fire and is hindering their chances.

Human Rights Council is considered to be the “world’s foremost human rights body”. More than 80 human rights and organizations, that include Human Rights Watch and Refugee International, have urged UN member states to drop Russia from the running, because of their military campaign in Syria. “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.

2008_un_humanrightscouncilRussia has been supporting President Assad’s regime in Syria against the rebels and ISIS since September of 2015. Since then they have committed war crimes. Human Rights watch says that since September 19, 2016, “The attacks included the use of barrel bombs, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons, and damaged or partially destroyed at least five hospitals in six separate attacks”. Russia have also been continually been providing the Syrian government with weapons.

I agree with these organizations, Russia must learn that there are consequences for their actions. I feel as if many have called them out on their wrong doings, but nobody has taken action. I feel as if this will help start sending the right message that the international community recognizes the crimes that they have committed and will not stand for it.


2 responses to “Russia’s Bid for Human Rights Council

  1. bethanyparisi October 27, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I strongly agree with the above post. I think that Russia definitely deserves to have some kind of punishment. They pretend to care about human rights, but then they go and break human rights laws. They have been supporting President Assad and his regime as he destroys lives of Syrian civilians. If Russia were to have consequences to their actions, it will not only help Syrians, but also African countries will feel less sought out. Since the ICC has focused mostly on African countries, seeing Russia get their punishment would show these countries understand that the ICC and western countries are not out to get them. Overall, I believe that it is time for Russia to get the consequences that they deserve.

  2. emilysgarland October 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I agree as well. Councils and Organizations such as the Human Rights Council do have power as international organizations to reprimand nations for unjust actions. Hopefully because the UNHRC excluded Russia from the bid will bring more attention to their support of the Assad regime and their doing/enabling of heinous crimes against civilians. Hopefully, decisions such as these by the UNHRC could make Russia rethink future involvements. However, there are many other countries currently on the council do not have clean human rights records. The UK and the US have been accused for their weapons transactions with Saudi Arabia, and therefore are enabling human rights atrocities committed by Saudi Arabia in the ongoing civil war in Yemen. Although neither nation have directly carried out these acts, I do not think this is so un similar to some of Russia’s actions in Syria.

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