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Czech Republic replaces Russia in UN Human Rights Council

On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly elected the Czech Republic to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to replace Russia. The latter was suspended last month over its invasion of Ukraine and then immediately quit the 47-member body.

The Czech Republic was elected with 157 votes in favour, while 23 countries abstained. Its term starts immediately.

Russia had been in the second year of its three-year term. The Czech Republic will complete that term on the council. Although the UNHRC cannot make legally binding decisions, they do carry political weight and the council can authorise investigations.

The Human Rights Council is due to hold a special session on Ukraine on Thursday, an official said on Monday, after Kyiv called for a review of the situation there, including reports of mass casualties in Mariupol.

The United States led the rare push to suspend Russia after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”. Libya was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 over violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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