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‘Dangerous precedent’: China warns of implications of Russia’s suspension from UNHRC

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China, on April 8, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

China has warned of the implications of Russia’s suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over the Russian offensive against Ukraine.

Speaking at a press briefing in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said his government was against “politicizing and instrumentalizing” human rights, warning against a “selective” approach toward the issue.

“China resolutely opposes politicizing and instrumentalizing the human rights issue, opposes selectivity, double standard, and confrontation on the issue, and opposes putting pressure on other countries under the pretext of human rights issue,” Zhao said.

The remarks came after the UN General Assembly on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the UNHRC over the “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” by Russian troops in Ukraine. The decision, which bars Moscow from speaking and voting at the council, makes Moscow the first permanent member of the UN Security Council to ever have its membership revoked from any UN-related body.

“The relevant resolution will deprive a country of its legitimate membership at the Human Rights Council,” Zhao said, demanding that “extreme prudence... be called for such an important affair, which should be handled calmly, objectively and rationally based on facts and truth.”

Zhao complained that the drafting process of the resolution had not been “open and transparent,” and that it had not been drafted with consultation with all member states.

“This way of doing things will only aggravate the division among member states, intensify contradictions among the parties concerned and add fuel to the fire,” Zhao said.

The Chinese spokesman reiterated that the resolution “will set a new dangerous precedent, further intensify confrontation and induce a still bigger impact on the UN governance system with serious consequences.”

China was among the 24 countries that voted against the motion. The resolution also garnered 93 votes in favor, while 58 countries abstained.

Meanwhile, Moscow has called the vote “illegal and politically motivated.” The RIA news agency quoted Gennady Kuzmin, the deputy Russian ambassador to the United Nations, as saying that Russia had decided to give up its membership immediately.

“We will continue to defend our interests using every possible legal means,” Peskov said.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the General Assembly has adopted two resolutions denouncing Moscow.

The US announced earlier that it would seek Russia’s suspension after Ukraine accused Russian forces of violating human rights in the town of Bucha.

Russia, however, has denied killing civilians. UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said earlier this week that while Russia was in control of Bucha, “not a single civilian suffered from any kind of violence.”


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