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Russia opposes attempts to charge UN Security Council with human rights issues

A set of instruments to defend and promote human rights is functioning at the UN, but the Security Council has never been a part of it, a Russian diplomat said

UN, April 19. /TASS/. The UN Security Council should not deal with human rights issues and infringe on the competence of other UN bodies and sovereign nations, a Russian deputy UN envoy said during Security Council debates.

Yevgeny Zagainov said "a huge set of instruments to defend and promote human rights has been developed and is actively functioning" at the United Nations, but the Security Council has never been a part of it.

"One should keep this in mind when these or that questions concerning human rights are raised at the UN Security Council," the diplomat said, adding that the council "is not intended to deal with tasks concerning human rights and does not specialize in detailed analysis in this area."

"It is a body vested with unique powers to make decisions, including the use of force, in the situations that constitute a threat to peace, a violation of peace or an act of aggression. Due to its mandate, the UN Security Council cannot serve as a forum for discussions about human rights anywhere," he said.

The diplomat stressed that the Council has "only the powers that the member states agreed to give to it."

"When it tries to go beyond those limits, it inevitably crosses into the zone of competence of states or other UN bodies that have their own tasks and roles," Zagainov said, adding that such practices may lead to "further criticism," including accusation of political bias and double standards, "and undermine trust to the council in general."

On an initiative from the United States, the UN Security Council held its first debates on human rights issues on Tuesday. During the debates, Western diplomats, including from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Sweden insisted that human rights violations cause armed conflicts, and the Council, as a guarantor of international peace, should pay more attention to them.

Zagainov said that Russia does not share this approach, citing the situation in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, where an attempt to interfere into domestic affairs under the pretext of protecting human rights caused the destabilization of entire regions and created "vast areas of chaos and violence, where even the basic right for life cannot be ensured, let alone political and economic rights." Other states, including Bolivia and China, expressed their support to Russia’s stance.