UN Human Rights Council members took 'strategic coffee break' to avoid vote on Russia ban


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Leigh Turner, former British ambassador to Ukraine, has criticised 18 UN members who avoided the vote on Russia’s suspension by taking a “strategic coffee break.” The United Nations vote has highlighted a division of global opinion as 24 members of the UN opposed the move to suspend Russia. Speaking to Nick Ferrari of LBC, Mr Turner suggested the suspension of Russia from the UN is unlikely to affect Putin’s ongoing efforts to conquer Ukraine.

He explained: “it won’t affect Russia’s ability to continue the war inside Ukraine.”

The ex-ambassador praised the exclusion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as “good news.”

However, Mr Turner also highlighted how the suspension offers “very limited practical impact,” as it will not halt Putin’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

He explained how the issue of war in Ukraine has split opinions in the UN.

“93 UN members did vote in favour of Russia’s suspension,” Mr Turner continued, “24 countries, 24 UN members, voted against Russia’s suspension”.

Mr Turner highlighted those opposed to the exclusion of Russia from the Human Right Council included China.

The United Nations has revealed Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Vietnam were among the countries to vote against the proposed suspension. 

In addition to those who voted against the move, Mr Turner denounced 18 UN members who had “a strategic coffee break to avoid the vote”.

A further 58 UN members abstained from the vote put towards the 193 member assembly.

Read more: UN savaged as Sajid Javid says more should be done to help Ukraine

Mr Turner warned the UN voting pattern highlights a difference in global opinion towards the invasion of Ukraine.

He explained it was wrong to assume the UK is “sitting comfortably” in agreement with other global powers that Russia’s actions should be condemned.

Of the countries who voted against the suspension of Russia, Turner hypothesised, “they may not be certain that coming out publicly against Russia will really help them.”

Turner did agree that most countries “find Russia’s actions awful,” but many are reluctant to take any action against Putin’s regime in an effort to protect their own global standing.

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Mr Turner’s analysis of the UN vote suggests much of the global debate surrounding Russia is tainted by self-interest.

Countries, including those who avoided the vote on Russia’s suspension, refuse to openly condemn Putin’s violence in fear of damaging the potential for future relations.

The United Kingdom Representative to the United Nations, Dame Barbara Woodward, voted for the suspension of Russia.

Shortly after the vote, she tweeted that voting to suspend Russia “wasn’t an option, but a duty.”  



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