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8th October 2022 (6 Topics)

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

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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