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Saudi envoy: Russia’s suspension from Human Rights Council an ‘escalation step’

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has described Thursday’s decision by the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council as an “escalation step” that further aggravates an already tense situation.

The Kingdom stressed that human rights issues should not be subject to “selectivity, double standards or politicization”.

Saudi Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek, said the move was not just a form of politicization, it was unilateral in nature in that it gave some states more rights than to others.

The General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the 47-member Human Rights Council for “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights”.

In the vote on the motion, led by the United States, 93 countries voted in favor, 24 against and 58, including Saudi Arabia, abstained.

Alateek said the Kingdom decided to abstain because it believes that any escalation of an already tense situation would harm the ongoing talks between the Russians and the Ukrainians “with a view to reaching a peaceful settlement that spares the region and world of other harmful effects in political, economic or humanitarian terms.

Russia’s suspension from the HRC constitutes a “serious precedent that threatens multilateral work and goes against the principles of international law” and undermines the work of international organizations, he added.

The ambassador condemned acts that violate international humanitarian law “in all their forms and wherever they occur”. He deplored the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and called for the protection of civilians and civilian sites.

Lana Nusseibeh, permanent representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, reiterated her country’s “strong condemnation of all violations of international humanitarian law” in Ukraine.

“Civilians bear the brunt of this conflict and it must end, they must be spared and the parties must uphold their obligations under international law,” she said.

Explaining the UAE’s decision to abstain from the vote, she said that “determining the facts on the ground is important for bringing justice to the victims but also, in the longer term, for enabling communities to heal, reconcile and build a lasting peace”. ”

As a member of the HRC, the UAE has previously voted in favor of the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine. .

Nusseibeh said the commission had just started its investigations and that “due process requires that the investigative mechanisms be able to conclude their work. Today we have decided to abstain on this resolution because we need to ensure that any decision we take in this GA is based on due process.

She added: “The UN is based on the premise of dialogue and constructive engagement, with each other and even with those who have views opposing us.

“The organizations that make up our international system were not created to be a club of like-minded people. We need to preserve spaces in the multilateral arena to talk with each other and not just with each other. And this idea is in the fundamental DNA of this organization.

Nusseibeh called for increased diplomatic efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. She expressed her support for the ongoing negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv and offered her country’s “full support for all mediation efforts”, adding: “Our collective strength lies in our inclusiveness”.

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