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Kenya abstains in vote to remove Russia from Human Rights Council

Kenya stated that the vote was premature

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: The results of the votes to expel Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council of members of the United Nations General Assembly is seen on a screen during a continuation of the Eleventh Emergency Special Session on the invasion of Ukraine on April 07, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The UN General Assembly has suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council (HRC), but Kenya abstained on the action keeping up its neutral stance.

Russia announced immediately after Thursday's vote that it was voluntarily withdrawing from the 47-member Council.

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Martin Kimani revealed that Kenya had chosen to abstain stating that the vote was biased.

"In the United Security Council, we had called for a prompt, independent investigation of the serious crimes in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. The vote was premature. In the future the HRC may appear biased and weaponised," stated Amb. Kimani.

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The Assembly's 2006 resolution setting up the Council allows for a country to be suspended if it carries out gross and systematic violations of human rights.

The resolution received 93 votes, while 24 countries voted against it, 58 abstained and 18 stayed away entirely from the voting.

A two-thirds majority of voting members in the 193-member General Assembly in New York was needed to suspend Russia from the 47-member Geneva-based HRC.

It was the third resolution adopted by the 193-member General Assembly since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on February 24.

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The two previous General Assembly resolutions denouncing Russia were adopted with 141 and 140 votes in favour.

Delegates chose to suspend Russia after the discovery of mass graves and human rights excesses in the Ukrainian city of Bucha. HRC revealed that they have seen dozens of dead bodies around Bucha, where Russian forces withdrew on April 1.

The images, which included some with their arms bound, have horrified the world. Many victims appeared to have been shot at close range, some in the head. At least two had their hands tied.

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Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzminin denounced the resolution as an "attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights architecture."

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