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UN votes to establish panel that will monitor human rights in Ukraine

United Nations
Posted at 4:55 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 07:55:57-05

GENEVA — The U.N.'s top human rights body has voted overwhelmingly to appoint a three-person panel of experts to monitor human rights in Ukraine, where Russian forces are invading.

The Human Rights Council voted 32-2, with 13 abstentions, to pass a resolution that was presented by many Western countries and others who have spoken out against Moscow's attack on its neighbor.

Only Russia and Eritrea opposed the resolution, with China abstaining.

The vote Friday was the culmination of an urgent debate called by Ukraine, during which most council members lambasted Russia.

Many Western envoys sported blue or yellow ties, scarves, jackets or ribbons on their lapels in reference to the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Far-flung countries such as Gambia and Malaysia spoke out against the invasion.

The result testified to growing international isolation of Russia: On Monday, five countries — including China — had voted against Ukraine's effort to convene the urgent debate.

"I thank all those who voted for the right course," said Ukraine's ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko.

On Wednesday, in just the first emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly since 1997, the 193-member assembly overwhelmingly voted to condemn Russia's actions, calling on them to withdraw troops from Ukraine immediately. That resolution deplored Russia's "aggression" against Ukraine "in the strongest terms" and demanded an immediate halt to Moscow's use of force and the immediate and complete withdrawal of all Russian forces.