The United Nations has voted to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council after a United States-initiated resolution was successfully passed. That resolution, however, saw Guyana and six other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries abstaining from the vote.
This resolution was brought to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) after there were high-profile allegations of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers during the war in Ukraine.
A draft of the resolution says the General Assembly may “suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”
This past weekend, the UN reported that disturbing photos emerged from the city of Bucha, a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, where hundreds of civilian bodies were found in the streets and in mass graves following Russia’s withdrawal from the area.
Prior to the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya reportedly urged countries to support the resolution.
In total, there were 93 votes cast in favour of the resolution and 24 against; 58 countries abstained but their votes were not included in the final tally.
Barbados, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago were the other CARICOM countries that abstained.
“The abstention is based on consultations with other CARICOM states,” Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd said in a brief comment to the News Room on Thursday.
He added, “It’s us following the events and the main thing is we, as CARICOM Foreign Ministers, are focused on preserving the institution of the United Nations.”
The UN stated that is not the first time that a Member State has had its membership of the Human Rights Council suspended. Libya lost its seat in 2011, following repression of protests by ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later overthrown.