Argentina: Russia Ukraine Conflict, a Wrong Vote in the UN

By Atilio Borón on April 8, 2022

This Thursday the UN General Assembly approved a resolution suspending Russia’s participation in the UN Human Rights Council. The results disappointed the United States government, the promoter of the initiative because Washington hoped that the overwhelming majority support for two resolutions voted in March and condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would be repeated. On that occasion, 141 countries voted in favor of the first one, and 140 did so a few days later.

Extreme vagueness

On this occasion, however, Washington’s proposal was supported by 93 countries, while 24 voted against and there were 58 abstentions. The resolution was approved because it exceeded two-thirds of the valid votes, that is, in favor or against, not taking into account abstentions. But it is no mystery to anyone that, in real numbers, almost half of the countries represented in the General Assembly did not support the US initiative. One possible reason for this reluctance lies in the extreme vagueness of the resolution proposed by the United States. It went like this:

“This brief revolution expresses grave concern about the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, in particular about reports of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including violations and flagrant and systematic abuses of human rights.”

The curious thing about the case is that neither the General Assembly nor the UN Human Rights Council had in their hands any objective and impartial report on the events that allegedly occurred. In other words, Russia’s participation in the HRC was temporarily suspended due to “reports” that were not produced by any responsible body of the United Nations system and, almost certainly, by the media or communication platforms related to -or dependent on- – the governments of the United States and Europe. In a few words, the Irurzun Doctrine was applied in the international arena: someone, in this case, a country, is suspected of violating human rights and, while the evidentiary reports are being prepared, a sanction is applied. In the Argentine case: a presumption of a crime committed by a troublesome politician or official, and while its commission is confirmed, preventive detention is ordered. The same thing was done today at the UN: in the absence of previous reports, a member-state was suspended and, to top it off, a permanent member of the Security Council. A true legal monstrosity and increasingly serious damage to international law.

White House Initiative

Unfortunately, the Argentine government supported this White House initiative. Our country holds the pro-tempore presidency of CELAC, and that block split in the vote. Eighteen countries voted in favor (Antigua, Argentina, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, and Uruguay); eleven abstained (Barbados, Belize, Brazil, El Salvador, Guyana, Mexico, Saint Kitts, Saint Vincent/Grenadines, Saint Cristobal, Suriname and Trinidad/Tobago) and three voted Against Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Venezuela could not vote because due to the blockade it is in arrears in the payment of its membership fees, but it is obvious that it would have voted against the initiative. A serious mistake of our government that even the Bolsonaro government didn’t fall for. “Brazil has decided to abstain in today’s vote because it believes that the commission of inquiry should be allowed to complete its independent investigation so that responsibilities can be determined.” This cautionary view was not taken into account by our representative, who agreed to sanction a country without reliable supporting evidence. I suppose that the pressure from Washington on all the Latin American and Caribbean countries must have been very great, but that is no excuse. If he did not want to or could not – due to Argentina’s vulnerability due to its foreign debt – vote against the US proposal, he should have abstained for several reasons.

One, due to the absence of reliable evidence, which constitutes a fundamental violation of due process, as valid in international affairs as in domestic politics. Second, in October 2020 the Argentine government signed a “Strategic Association Agreement” with the Russian Federation, extremely convenient in economic and diplomatic terms, which now runs the risk of being put on hold, or being evicted. In exchange for? Will “US investments now rain” for the great public works projects that this country needs and for which Russia collaborated? And third, due to the undermining of the presidential word.

Pyrrhic victory

I conclude that what happened in the UN was a pyrrhic and dubious victory for White House diplomacy. A serious setback in its maximum objective: to expel Russia from the Security Council and the G-20, which it seems that several countries, including Argentina, opposed. And a mistake that could be very costly for our government, without any benefit insight, it could have opted, like almost half of the CELAC members, for abstention

Source: Cuba – Network in Defense of Humanity