Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaks to the media at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 3, 2021. AP
In a 33-2 vote, with 12 abstentions, the Human Rights Council concluded a special session Thursday on Russia's invasion of Ukraine also by calling on Russia to grant international human rights groups ``unhindered, timely, immediate, unrestricted and safe access'' to people who have been transferred from Ukraine to Russia or areas controlled by Russian forces or affiliates.
Only China and Eritrea voted against the measure, which also urged the U.N. human rights office to report on events in Mariupol, a besieged southeastern port city where thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed. Access to the city has been virtually nonexistent for international human rights during recent fighting there.
The council called on a team of investigators known as a Commission of Inquiry to look specifically into the ``events'' in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions of Ukraine in late February and early March after Russia's invasion ``with a view to holding those responsible to account.'' The commission was already created to investigate rights abuses and violations generally in Ukraine.
Many atrocities in the war came to light last month after Moscow's forces aborted their bid to capture Kyiv and withdrew from around the capital, exposing mass graves and streets and yards strewn with bodies in towns such as Bucha.