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Russia Blocks 'Polticized' UN Security Council Meeting on Syria Human Rights

© AFP 2023 / TIMOTHY A. CLARY Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on December 18, 2015
Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on December 18, 2015 - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Nations Security Council cancelled a meeting on human rights violations in Syria on Monday after Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gennady Kuzmin called for a procedural vote on the briefing's agenda.

“This really confirms the politicized nature of this initiative, that has nothing to do with concerns for Syrians itself," Kuzmin said of the effort to hold the briefing. "We believe there is a need to cancel this briefing, and we are going to asked the distinguished president to put this situation to a procedural vote."

The provisional agenda — which would have involved a briefing by the UN human rights chief — was put to a vote. Eight countries supported the initiative, but four others, including Russia and China, blocked it. Three council members abstained from voting.

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The council's rules required nine "yes" votes for the provisional agenda's adoption.

Monday's meeting began with Kuzmin asking Security Council member states what specifically would be discussed and who was behind the initiative.

French Ambassador to UN Francois Delattre responded that France and seven other members of the Security Council requested the meeting for "methodological reasons and reasons of substance."  Delattre urged the international body to consider the matter of  the humanitarian crisis in Syria and to not dissociate this issue from efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict.

Kuzmin argued there was no justification for the meeting, because the subject of human rights is not on on the agenda of the UN Security Council as the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva deals with these kinds of issues. He said Russia was opposed to holding the briefing in the format it has been proposed.

US Representative to the UN Kelley Currie said the United Stated would vote in favor of proceeding with the meeting as planned. She argued that Russia's "efforts to obstruct the work of the council… are appalling."

China's representative noted that the key role of the Security Council is to maintain peace and security, not to consider human rights matters.

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari later told reporters that the failed vote to hold the UN Security Council meeting shows an attempt by some influential members to manipulate the council’s rules.

Jaafari said the vote was very important because those who "confiscated" the council to defend their own interests had failed.

Meetings on human rights issues are not the mandate of the Security Council, but there is a council on human rights in Geneva, he added.

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The international community is deeply divided over the conflict in Syria, with many countries including the United States and Russia involved in the conflict.

Russia has deployed forces to the country at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who sought Moscow's help battling terrorist groups including the Islamic State (IS or Daesh)*.

The United States leads a coalition of states that is also battling the IS terrorist group, but its presence has not been approved by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

Terrorist organization, banned in Russia.

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