UN Human Rights Council

Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council over Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly has suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over reports of "gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights" by invading Russian troops in Ukraine.

The US-led push garnered 93 votes in favour, while 24 countries voted no and 58 countries abstained.

A two-thirds majority of voting members in the 193-member General Assembly in New York - abstentions do not count - was needed to suspend Russia from the 47-member Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

UN Human Rights Council elects Fiji’s Nazhat Shameem Khan as president

Ambassador Khan was elected through a secret ballot process through which all 47 members of the Geneva-based human rights body cast their vote to appoint its president for 2021 – the Council’s 15th annual cycle.

A statement said Ambassador Khan, whose presidency takes immediate effect, joins the Ambassadors of the Bahamas, Sudan and Netherlands, who were elected vice-presidents of the Council in December, to serve on the Council Bureau for the current year.

Fiji defers candidacy for UN Human Rights Council

In October the government said it planned to seek a seat on the council during the 2018 to 2020 term.

In a speech today however the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji was a small country and its foreign policy resources needed to be focused on climate change and its presidency of COP23.

He said Fiji could simply not do them both and do them well.

Fiji is to share the presidency of the next international climate change talks in Bonn in November.

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji would try again for a seat on the Geneva-based human rights body after COP 23.

Pacific concern relayed at UN over West Papua abuses

The 34th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, was told that Indonesia has not curtailed or halted various widespread violations.

Vanuatu's Justice Minister Ronald Warsal was speaking on behalf of his country and six other Pacific nations: Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Solomon Islands