Resolution suspending Russia from UNHRC threatens UN credibilty: Egypt

Amr Kandil , Friday 8 Apr 2022

Egypt said the resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) "squanders the organisation’s mechanisms” and “could weaken the credibility of the UN and its mechanisms," before abstaining on the vote.

Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek speaks during the emergency special session of the UNGA to vote on suspending Russia from the UNHRC. Egyptian foreign ministry

“The proposed draft resolution is a waste of the mechanisms of the organisation that have long been trusted by members of the international community and an indication that the credibility of the United Nations and its mechanisms could begin to shake,” the Egyptian Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek told the UNGA on Thursday before Egypt abstained in the vote on the resolution.

Of the 193 members of the assembly, 93 voted in favor of Russia’s suspension, while 24 voted against and 58 abstained.

“This will have severe negative repercussions on [the UN’s] ability to carry out its responsibilities, in accordance with its charter and the work that has been settled about over a period of 75 years,” he added.

Abdel-Khalek remarks came during the special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to vote on a resolution to suspend Russia’s membership at the UN Human Rights Council (UNGA) as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

“Egypt does not see merit in putting forward the draft resolution and is concerned about its effects,” Abdel-Khalek said during the session.

Still, Abdel-Khalek affirmed Egypt’s full rejection of any violations to the human rights and breaches to the legal obligations of the countries in this regard.

“Egypt believes in the need to confront such grave [human rights] violations decisively in accordance with the UN mechanisms, which ensure that these heinous acts are addressed and the appropriate decision is taken to face them,” he stated.

Politicising UN, double-standards

"Egypt does not look at the draft resolution as linked to the Ukraine crisis, or the principle of the impermissibility of the use of force or violation of the sovereignty of nations," Abdel-Khalek said.

Instead, he added, the UNGA resolution is “linked to the orientation toward politicising the UN organs and specialised agencies,” affirming Egypt’s rejection of this orientation.

“Egypt’s principled and consistent stance rejects this approach as it involves a waste of the purpose for which the organization, its agencies and organs were established and as this leads to squandering its credibility and international multilateral action,” Abdel-Khalek affirmed.

He added the draft resolution constitutes a “dangerous turning point” to the path of the UN, noting that the international community’s reliance on the UN to establish the international work system has become at stake.

“The organisation's respect for its charter, rules, procedures and system of work has strengthened the international community's dependence on it in order to consolidate the international work system,” Abdel-Khalek said.

“This has been [carried out] based on rules and mechanisms that it relies on for the proper management of international relations and the maintenance of international peace and security,” Abdel-Khalek said, adding that the international dependence on the UN for these reasons “is now under threat.”

Abdel-Khalek warned against “double-standards” in dealing with human rights violations worldwide, saying that “in many times, less decisive and more lenient decisions were taken regarding clear human rights violations in the not-so-distant past.”

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Egypt has highlighted the need to prioritise dialogue and diplomatic solutions to settle the crisis and has offered support for all endeavours that would accelerate a political settlement.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks as part of the Arab League's Ukraine crisis group separately with the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers, in Moscow and Warsaw, respectively, to push for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Early in March, Egypt, along with 140 countries, voted for a UN resolution calling for a halt to Russia’s invasion and an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from its western neighbour.

However, Egypt also warned against economic sanctions that are not based on the mechanisms of the multilateral international system.

“Egypt rejects the approach of employing economic sanctions outside the framework of the mechanisms of the multilateral international system,” Abdel-Khalek said during the special session of the 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March, as Russia was being slapped by extensive western sanctions.

He warned that similar sanctions in the past had caused “severe negative humanitarian effects” and exacerbated the suffering of millions of people over the past decades.

Short link: