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UN Human Rights Council to launch an investigation into Russian crimes in Ukraine

On Thursday the UN Human Rights Council voted in favour of a resolution calling for a UN investigation into reports of gross human rights violations in Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine, including near Kyiv.

33 countries voted in favour of the resolution tabled by Ukraine, 12 abstained and two – China and Eritrea – voted against. The resolution was adopted during a special Council meeting in Geneva.

🔴 BREAKING

The Human Rights Council has voted to increase scrutiny on the "deteriorating human rights situation in #Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression," particularly given events in #Mariupol and several other towns and cities.

✅ YES: 33
❌ NO: 2
➖ ABSTENTIONS: 12 pic.twitter.com/KoDssTw3Df

— UN Human Rights Council (@UN_HRC) May 12, 2022

Earlier, on March 4, the Council – with only Russia and Eritrea opposing – adopted a resolution “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, and related crimes in the context of the aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation, and to establish the facts, circumstances and root causes of any such violations and abuses.”

Although China abstained then, this time it voted against, including claiming that the new resolution would “add fuel to the fire”.

In the document adopted on Thursday, the Council calls on the established UN commission to conduct an independent special investigation into the events that happened in the areas near Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy, during the Russian occupation of these territories in February and March.

During the session, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet reported on the visit of her office’s monitoring mission near Kyiv and Chernihiv, among other places. “My Office continues to verify allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, many of which may amount to war crimes,” she said.

#HumanRights situation in 🇺🇦#Ukraine –@mbachelet updates the @UN_HRC

Watch her video message⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PcnVW5ZrvN

— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 12, 2022

“The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv is shocking. While we have information about 300 such killings, the figures will continue to increase as new evidence becomes available,” Ms. Bachelet said. “These killings of civilians often appeared to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers,” the UN official added.

She also drew attention to the situation in Mariupol and the unimaginable horror the city’s residents have been experiencing since the Russian aggression began.

“Those in command of armed forces must make it clear to their members that anyone found to have been involved in such violations will be prosecuted and held accountable,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded.


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