Moscow opposes US-led human rights debate at UN

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UNITED NATIONS, United States: Russia on Monday threw up a hurdle in a US plan to hold a high-profile debate later this month on human rights during the US presidency of the UN Security Council.

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US Ambassador Nikki Haley wants to schedule the human rights debate for April 18 but the council adopted a program of work for the month without putting it on the agenda.

Russian charge d’affaires Petr Iliichev said he was open to discussion on the scope of the debate and argued that the UN Human Rights Council — and not the Security Council — is the venue for such discussions.

Iliichev suggested that the debate could be linked to peacekeeping but that “just a general statement that international peace and security are threatened by human rights violations is not true.”

Diplomats said China, Bolivia and Egypt also expressed reservations over the debate that would be the centerpiece of the US council presidency, along with a meeting on peacekeeping to be held Thursday.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters that he believed that a “way out” of the dispute could be found.

Haley is expected to press on with the plan to hold the debate in a move that would force Russia and China to call for a procedural vote to try to block the discussion on April 18.

That attempt, however, is likely to fail as only nine votes are needed in the 15-member council for the debate to be formally put on the agenda.

Haley last week said it would be telling to see which countries oppose the debate.

“The fact is, peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation from human rights,” Haley told the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Human rights abuses are not the by-product of conflict. They are the cause of conflict, or they are the fuel that feeds the conflict.”

AFP

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