A dozen members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee have urged Joe Biden’s administration to push for Russia’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, citing its invasion of Ukraine.reports Reuters.
In a letter dated Monday and made public Tuesday, the eight Democrats and four Republicans asked the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfieldto introduce a resolution to remove Russia from the human rights body, citing numerous victims in Ukraine and the destruction of residential buildings, hospitals and schools.
Support for Ukraine is one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in the bitterly divided US Congress, which has approved billions of dollars in aid to the kyiv government.
“Quick action must be taken to show the world that the United States and our allies will not tolerate indiscriminate and unprovoked attacks on civilians and democracies. The time has come for Russia to no longer have a seat on the Council,” says the letter, led by the committee’s senior Republican, Senator jim rischand its Democratic chairman, Senator Bob Mendez.
In the letter, the senators said that states engaging in a pattern of gross and systemic rights violations can be removed by a two-thirds vote in the UN General Assembly.
“We implore you to present a resolution to the UN General Assembly demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the HRC,” they wrote.
US officials at the US Mission to the United Nations in New York sent a request for comment to the Geneva office, which did not immediately respond.
The Human Rights Council is based in Geneva.
Russia, which calls its actions since February 24 a “special operation”, has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine.
Only one country has been suspended from the 47-member Geneva-based council: Libya. The North African country was suspended in 2011 due to violence against protesters by forces loyal to its then leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Some senior officials addressing the council at a meeting earlier this month questioned Russia’s membership, but did not explicitly call for its suspension.