Russia Violates International Law, Not Qualified for Seat on UNHRC

Oral Statement by United Nations Watch
UN Human Rights Council, 43rd Session
Agenda Item 10: Report on Ukraine
Delivered by Ms. Hilary Miller
17 June 2020

Madam President,

United Nations Watch is deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Ukraine, particularly Russia’s continued violation of international law in occupied Crimea.

In January, Russia formally announced its candidacy for a seat on this Human Rights Council, releasing a document with many pledges, including to “protect human rights and freedoms under international law.”

Indeed, under Resolution 60/251, Council members are obliged to uphold the highest standards of protection of human rights.

Examining its record on Crimea alone, does Russia meet the criteria?

Let us consider the report before us today. It documents how Russia in 2019 forcibly deported at least 191 Crimeans—a direct violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. For example, freelance journalist Nariman Memedeminov was arrested at gunpoint, deported for reporting on Russia’s relentless persecution of Crimean activists, and then convicted last October on false charges of terrorism.

Second, Russia portrays politically-active Crimean Tatars as terrorists, forces many into exile, and ensures those who choose to stay never feel safe to speak the truth.

Third, Russia forcibly conscripts men into its armed forces.

Madam President, does Russia’s record on Crimea meet the standards established by the United Nations for membership on its highest human rights body?

Sadly, for the Crimean victims of Moscow’s repressive occupation, the answer is No.

Thank you, Madam President.

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