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UN Human Rights Council to meet amid Ukraine crisis


UN Human Rights Council to meet amid Ukraine crisis

Photo: Denia Balibouse/Reuters

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) opens its 2022 session in Geneva today amid the on-going Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine has requested that the 47-member body—which also includes Russia, the US, the UK, China and India—hold an urgent debate on “Russian aggression” against the country. Expect the Council to approve the motion, which only requires a veto-proof simple majority. 

Europe, the US and others have accused Russia of targeting Ukrainian civilians, an allegation Moscow denies. On Monday—two days before Russian leadership announced a “military operation” against Ukraine—the US penned a letter to the UN warning of Russian retaliation against targeted Ukrainian civilians and Russian opponents of the war. 

As reports and video continue to surface of Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, anticipate debate to largely rebuke Russia. This will likely lead to a resolution condemning civilian attacks and calling for a ceasefire. 

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In the short-term, a reprimand from the UNHRC will add to existing international condemnation of the invasion. Continued international pressure—through formal reprimands, sanctions and positioning of NATO forces in the Baltics—combined with a stiff Ukrainian resistance to Russian troop movements could realistically lead to a ceasefire. 

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