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Russia voices criticism over misuse of UN Human Rights Council

November 18, 2014, 4:26 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Its activities showed an explicit tilt towards the settling of political accounts, representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said
1 pages in this article
© TASS/EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

UNITED NATIONS, November 18. /TASS/. Russia on Monday leveled sharp criticism at the UN Human Rights Council, says its activities showed an explicit tilt towards the settling of political accounts.

A statement on it was made at the session of the UN General Assembly by Anatoly Viktorov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for humanitarian cooperation and human rights.

“A tilt towards the settling of political accounts, groundless sermonizing, and castigation of one or another country for political motives has become increasingly explicit in the activities of the Council recently,” Viktorov said.

He spoke for restoration of a reciprocally respectful character of the intergovernmental dialogue in the format of the Council. “We proceed from the conviction that mutually equitable cooperation between states and on basis of respect for sovereignty should be the founding principle of the Council’s operations,” Viktorov said.

He said the endless attempts to impose various controlling procedures, often unnecessarily duplicating one another were highly regrettable, as they put additional strains on the UN budget and the satisfactory payback from them was very rare.

The Universal Periodic Review is the only unbiased mechanism existing in the format of the Council today, Viktorov said. It takes place regularly and presupposes reporting on the situation with human rights on one’s own territory.

Viktorov voiced concern over the tendency to use the Council “for thrusting various politically charged issuing on the agenda of the UN General Assembly and the attempts to pass human rights dossiers to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

He called on the Council members to focus on providing technical assistance to countries upon their direct consent instead of these malpractices.

Viktorov said that Russia continued supporting the Council’s operations nonetheless and he called for preventing a full loss of credibility by the Council, as it could then repeat the plight of its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission that ceased to exist in 2006.

Russia was not the only country that leveled criticism at the Council on Monday. Serious discontent with its methods was expressed by Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari who criticized the setting up of a commission supposed to investigate encroachments on human rights in his country.

The commission is biased and upholds the interests of a certain group of rich countries, he said.

Ja’afari also expressed regret over the Council’s apparent moving along the trail blazed by the defunct commission, although it should have done some work to correct the past errors.

Sri Lankan Ambassador Palitha Kohona warned on his part that if the Council continued the practice of selecting countries for its investigations haphazardly the international community would eventually lose trust in it.

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