A hasty move which will add fuel to fire, China reacts on Russia’s suspension from UNHRC
Beijing: A day after voting against the resolution suspending Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the UN General Assembly over civilian killings in Ukraine, China on Friday defended its vote, saying such a “hasty move” will set a “dangerous precedent.”
In a rare move, the 193-member UN General Assembly voted to adopt a draft resolution moved by the US to suspend Russia from the world body’s top human rights organisation over allegations of Russian soldiers killing civilians while retreating from towns near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
The draft received 93 votes in favour, 24 against and 58 abstentions. India abstained from voting. China’s all-weather ally Pakistan too abstained from voting.
Reacting to the developments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “It is like adding fuel to the fire which is not constructive to the de-escalation of the conflict, even less to advance peace talks.”
“The relevant resolution will deprive Russia of its membership of the UNHRC and sets a dangerous precedent,” he said.
No permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever had its membership revoked from any organ of the world body.
In 2011, Libya was suspended from the Council because of violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.
As a close ally of Moscow, China has declined to condemn Russia’s war on Ukraine even though it walked a fine line calling for peaceful resolution while highlighting Russia’s security concerns relating to NATO expansion.
Observers say China, which faces serious human rights violation accusations against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, apprehends similar moves by the US and the EU countries who already have criticised Beijing.
“We oppose politicising and instrumentalising the issue of human rights,” Zhao told a media briefing here while elaborating on China’s move to vote against the resolution moved by the US.
“We oppose double standards, selective approach and confrontational moves on this issue and we oppose using this issue to pressure other countries,” he said.
The relevant resolution will deprive Russia of its membership of the UNHRC, he said.
“For such a matter of great importance a lot of prudence is needed. It should be handled in a cool-headed and objective manner based on facts and truth,” he said.
On April 6, China said that images of civilian deaths in Bucha in Ukraine where the retreating Russian soldiers were alleged to have killed civilians are deeply disturbing.
“The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident must be verified and ascertained. Humanitarian issues shouldn’t be politicised. Any accusations should be based on facts,” Zhao said at the time, when asked about civilian killings in Bucha.
On the UNGA resolution against Russia, Zhao said the resolution was not drafted in an “open and transparent manner nor (did) it follow the tradition of holding consultations within the whole membership to heed to the broadest opinions”.
“Such a hasty move which forces other countries to choose sides will aggravate divisions among the member states and intensify the contradictions between the parties concerned,” he said.
“Dealing with the UN membership in such a way would set a new and dangerous precedent, further intensify the confrontation in the field of human rights, bring a greater impact on the UN governance system and produce serious consequences,” he said.