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India Abstains from Vote on UN Resolution to 'Scrutinize' Russia's Rights Record

  • Published
    8th Oct, 2022

India abstained from voting on the UNHRC draft proposal favoring the appointment of an independent expert to scrutinize Russia’s rights record.

  • The UNHRC has purposed the appointment of an independent expert to look into the crackdown on dissenting voices and limits on free speech worsening during the war in Ukraine.
  • The 47-member Human Rights Council passed the proposal with 24 abstentions.
  • Shortly before the vote in Geneva, the Russian human rights group Memorial was named a co-winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
  • It is the first time the council has authorized a special rapporteur to look into human rights issues in any of the five countries that are permanent members of the UN Security Council.

India Abstaining on UN vote against Russia:

  • The Soviet Union used its veto on several occasions to protect India against various resolutions:
    • brought by the West regarding Kashmir
    • India’s invasion of Goa
    • the 1971 war with Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh.
  • India has abstained on votes condemning:
    • the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968
    • invasion in Afghanistan a decade later.
  • From an Indian perspective, it boils down to the fact that India does not want to pick sides.
  • But given the geo-political scenario, India must be watchful of the growing closeness of Russia and China.

UN Human Rights Council:

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
  • Formation:
  • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
  • OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

 

Russia and Human Rights:

  • Russia was a member of the Human Rights Council but not anymore.
  • The Russian government has taken a number of steps to limit domestic dissent over the war.
  • It has passed laws that criminalize spreading fake news about Russia’s military.
  • It’s unlikely that Russia will let the special rapporteur visit the country.

India and UN Human Rights Council:

  • Recently, a group of Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations (UN) has written to the Indian government expressing concerns over the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020.
  • In 2020, India’s National Human Rights Commission submitted its mid-term report to the Council as a part of the third round of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.
  • India was elected to the Council for a period of three years beginning 1st January 2019.
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