On Dec. 19 the UN General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning Russia’s violation of the human rights of Ukrainians in territories of Ukraine it is occupying, including Crimea. Seventy-eight states supported the resolution. It was approved.
Not bad, you might say - 78 states!
In fact, this was a very disappointing result and should give rise to serious concern.
The last time a similar vote was held in the General Assembly – in February 2023 condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and demanding its immediate withdrawal from the country, in line with the UN Charter – the resolution was supported by 141 states. Seven voted against, 32 abstained, and 13 were absent
And this time? What happened?
There were 79 abstentions, that is, one more than in support of the resolution. And 15 votes against.
As expected, representatives of the free world supported the resolution. They included even states that have been rather ambivalent, or even problematic, in their behavior towards Russia, or on issues of critical importance within the NATO and EU blocks. Here I mean Turkey and Hungary.
Serbia, Russia’s traditional friend, was the only European state that abstained. Thank you, Belgrade!
Most members of the BRICs intergovernmental organization abstained, most notably Brazil, India, and South Africa, while China, hardly surprisingly, backed its Russian partner and voted against.
There were many abstentions among the Latin and Central American states, but Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Guyana, and Jamaica were among those who supported the resolution.
In Africa, it seems only Cabo Verde supported the resolution. None of the Arab states endorsed it, whereas Israel did. In Asia, other than Japan and South Korea, Myanmar supported the resolution.
And who openly supported Russia and thereby its barbaric policies violating all international legal norms? No surprises: its Belarusian vassal state ruled by Moscow’s puppet Alexander Lukashenko, China, as I’ve mentioned, Iran, North Korea, Burundi, Cuba, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Syria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
It’s also worth noting some of the states that were conspicuously absent for this vote - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Morocco.
So, all in all, a sad state of affairs. Africa, the Arab states, most of Asia, and a large part of Latin America, still appear unwilling to condemn Russia’s imperialism and aggression while pointing fingers at other supposed international culprits and “imperialists” in the Western camp, thereby parroting Moscow’s narratives.
When the likes of India, which claims to be the world’s largest democracy, prefer to conveniently keep sitting on the fence and see no evil while continuing to boost its trade with Russia, you know that it’s not principles that matter but cynical pragmatism.
This latest vote on a key human rights situation serves essentially as a poll, showing us who is who on the international scene and how the forces are aligned.
What’s happening? Ukraine fatigue? Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts failing? Distraction by the Israel-Hamas war, and other conflicts? Or is the democratic world faltering under siege?
Defenders of freedom in Washington, Brussels, and other outposts of democracy, has it registered? Do not let down your guard and let the forces of despotism, backwardness, and cynical indifference gain the upper hand. Act purposefully and in unity before it’s too late.
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