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Tipsheet

Finally: Biden Administration Will Ask UN to Boot Russia from Disgraceful 'Human Rights' Council

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

We raised this issue weeks ago, noting that Russia's government maintained its seat on the pathetically broken United Nations Human Rights Council, despite mounting evidence of war crimes and the targeting of civilians.  I asked why the Biden administration was not seeking Russia's ouster from the organization, which could be achieved by a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly.  The weeks stretched on, with no action on this front until last week -- when a bipartisan group of Senators at last started to prod the White House over the issue:

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A dozen members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged President Joe Biden's administration to push for Russia's removal from the United Nations Human Rights Council, citing its invasion of Ukraine. In a letter dated Monday and made public on Tuesday, the eight Democrats and four Republicans asked the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to introduce a resolution to remove Russia from the rights body, citing widespread casualties in Ukraine and the destruction of residential buildings, hospital and schools. Support for Ukraine is one of the rare areas of bipartisan agreement in the bitterly divided U.S. Congress, which has approved billions of dollars in aide for the government in Kyiv.

Nearly a week later, Team Biden has finally moved in that direction, following horrific images of escalating Russian war crimes against Ukrainians. Some of the coverage is borderline unbearable, but we must not look away:

More than 100 civilians lay buried in mass graves in this suburb of Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew last week, one of several regions in which Ukrainian officials and independent rights watchdogs say they are uncovering evidence of war crimes perpetrated by occupation forces. When the Russian military forces abandoned Bucha, it left streets littered with bodies of civilians. Human Rights Watch on Sunday released a report documenting instances of rape and summary executions in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, including Bucha, as well as other alleged crimes. Ukrainians were finding “people with hands tied behind their back and decapitated… kids who were killed and tortured,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview...Ukraine’s prosecutor-general’s office said Sunday that 410 bodies of civilians had been removed from the areas of the Kyiv region that had been retaken in recent days, and some 140 had been examined by forensic experts...

A truck towing a wagon stacked with bodies drove past a leg lying on the grass by the road, its foot wearing a black leather boot. A matching leg and boot lay 20 yards away. Further on was a torso and head. “The dogs have been eating them,” said a Ukrainian soldier. “We’ve found bodies stuffed down manholes,” said a soldier standing by a shattered store named Happy Life. “They’d throw in a grenade.” ... Onto a rise past a grassy basketball court, a row of bodies was visible in a hole in the ground through a slit in a concrete carapace, eight or nine torsos wrapped in plastic, faces newly lifeless, yet to gray in decay. A man looking on said that he and others had found a woman dead behind her bullet-riddled apartment door. Down the road from city hall, behind St. Andrew’s Church, a hole held a pile of bodies, thrown any which way. From the dirt tossed upon them appeared an elbow, a knee, the sole of a running shoe. One body was wrapped in a plastic shopping bag, white with red roses.

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Sickening.  The Kremlin and its apologists denied the allegations, which are backed by many eyewitness accounts.  They claim the Ukrainians staged the bodies and mass graves for propaganda purposes.  They lied:


The regime responsible for these atrocities holds a seat on the UN Human Rights panel.  Against that backdrop, the US delegation to the United Nations has now decided to request a vote to boot Russia off of the council.  It may be an uphill battle, considering that many autocratic nations will be very reluctant to punish fellow autocrats.  But at least there will be an attempt:

The U.S. will seek Russia's suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to allegations that Russian forces committed war crimes in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday... "In close coordination with Ukraine, European countries and other partners at the UN, we are going to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council," ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said in Romania, where she is observing efforts to help refugees arriving from Ukraine. My message to those 140 countries who have courageously stood together is: the images out of Bucha and devastation across Ukraine require us to now match our words with action,” she said, referring to the more than 140 countries that voted in early March to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. "There will be accountability and justice for this brutality," she said in a tweet Sunday.
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Here's the problem: Even if the vote were to succeed, Russia would still hold its permanent seat on the Security Council, replete with veto power over anything with teeth, and the Human Rights Council would remain a disgraceful farce.  Why kick out Russia if you're not going to do the same to China, whose regime is literally engaged in an active genocide, yet remains a member of good standing within this supposed 'human rights' body?  The CCP would like to suppress criticism of its horrendous record in the West, and western media outlets seem eager to team up with left-wing activists to that effect.  This is straight-up Beijing propaganda, and I don't care if its target in this case is a Democrat:


Calling out the Chinese government is not racist or dangerous; it's vital.  Then there are the endless crimes of other council members, from Cuba, to Venezuela, to Sudan.  The reality is that this organization is irreparably broken.  The Trump administration was absolutely correct to pull the United States out of it, denying it any undeserved legitimacy in our eyes.  The Biden administration made a show of rejoining it -- and for what?  The idea was for the US to use its leadership to help guide the panel's actions, which often come down to propping up human rights abusers and condemning Israel.  It's been more of the same, constantly:

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If and when the General Assembly votes to keep Russia on the council, then what?  What possible reason would the United States have to remain a party to this twisted joke, beyond weird, pointless worship of "multilateralism"?  

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