Czech Republic Replaces Russia On UN Human Rights Council

Russia vacated its seat on the UN’s top human rights body in April 2022. The Czech Republic was elected uncontested to fill the vacant seat, and will retain the seat until the end of 2023. Photo: Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Credit: Markéta Trnková via MZV.

Czech Republic, 11 May (BD) – The Czech Republic was yesterday elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, filling a gap left vacant following the suspension of Russia by the General Assembly on 7 April. The extraordinary step was taken following international anger over atrocities in Ukraine committed by the Russian Army, and is the first time a UN Security Council member has been suspended. 

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council, established in 2006, is the UN body tasked with protecting and guaranteeing human rights around the world. The 47 seats on the council are divided between the world’s regions, with six allocated to Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic was the only candidate for the by-election, and received 157 votes in favour in the UN General Assembly, with 23 abstentions, joining Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Armenia and Ukraine in representing Eastern Europe on the council. 

Writing on Twitter, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said: “I am very pleased that the Czech Republic was elected to the UN Human Rights Council. I thank the UN Member States for their trust. A meeting on human rights violations due to Russian aggression against Ukraine awaits us on Thursday.” He added that the protection of human rights was a priority of the Czech government.

The Czech Republic will not serve a full three-year term on the council, but will retain the seat until the end of 2023, when Russia’s term would have ended. This is the fourth time the Czech Republic has held a seat on the council. 

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