Russia failed to win re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council as a representative of the Eastern European bloc on Friday. The country was beaten by Hungary and Croatia in a vote by the 193-member UN General Assembly in New York City.
Prior to the selection, a group of at least 87 rights and aids organisations lobbied member states to not allow Russia to remain on the council based on its support of and participation in “military actions which have routinely targeted civilians and civilian objects.” Earlier this year, the US, Britain, and France urged Russia be investigated for war crimes.
“Member states should particularly consider Russia’s indiscriminate attacks, its substantial weapons deliveries to the Syrian government and its efforts to prevent impartial accountability for serious crimes in Syria,” a joint statement from the rights organisations said.
The statement continued with a damning list which ranged from the use of cluster munitions to targeting hospitals to blocking resolutions against the Bashar al-Assad Syrian regime.
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) October 28, 2016
Hungary received 144 votes, followed by Croatia with 114 votes and Russia with 112 votes.
BREAKING: In stunning rebuke from UN General Assembly, Russia loses its seat on the UN Human Rights Council #HRCelections
— Ryan Kaminski (@rykaminski) October 28, 2016
As Syrian rebels announced a fresh push to break the siege in the city of Aleppo on Friday, Russian military asked President Vladimir Putin for permission to resume airstrikes. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the media that Putin refused as he believed airstrikes in Aleppo were unnecessary for now.
Putin rejects resuming the strikes in order to give the United States time to separate terrorist groups from the moderate opposition and to allow militants and civilians to leave Aleppo, Peskov said. Russia reserves the right to use all of its means and force to support Syrian army, he added.
However, according to Al Jazeera, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier said air strikes had resumed since October 22.