GENEVA: A United Nations human rights body comfortably passed a motion on Friday to appoint a new independent expert on alleged human rights abuses in Russia, accusing Moscow of creating a “climate of fear” through repression and violence.
Members voted 17 in favour and six against, with 24 abstaining. The move is the first time that the Human Rights Council has set up a Special Rapporteur to examine the rights record of one of its so-called ‘P5’ members, which hold permanent seats on the Security Council.
It follows stronger Russian laws this year to punish people Moscow says discredit the armed forces or spread fake information, and the forced closure of human rights groups, including Memorial, which won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, said the resolution contained a “stream of false allegations”.
“This draft resolution is one more example of how Western countries are using this council to obtain their political goals,” he said.
The win comes as a relief to Western countries after the historic defeat of a China motion on Thursday.
The resolution was brought to the Geneva council by nearly 50 countries, including all EU countries, barring Hungary, as well as the United States, Britain, Ukraine, Japan and Colombia.

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