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U.S. ambassador to the U.N. calls for suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visits Gara de Nord railway station where infrastructure has been put in place to welcome and assist refugees coming from Ukraine, in Bucharest, Romania, on April 4th, 2022
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visits Gara de Nord railway station where infrastructure has been put in place to welcome and assist refugees coming from Ukraine, in Bucharest, Romania, on April 4th, 2022

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will seek to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

In a press conference in Bucharest, Romania, today, Thomas-Greenfield called Russian participation a "farce" and said Russia should not have a position of authority on the council.

Thomas-Greenfield said she will bring the matter before the Security Council on Wednesday immediately after returning to New York, and expects the General Assembly to take up the issue as early as Thursday. In early March, 140 U.N. member states voted for a resolution condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and demanding the withdrawal of military forces.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, holds a press conference at the Official Hall of Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest, April 4th, 2022. "As I told Prime Minister Ciuca earlier today in our robust discussion, I want the Romanian people to know that you are not alone. In all of your humanitarian efforts, the United States is your committed partner", the Ambassador said.
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, holds a press conference at the Official Hall of Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest, April 4th, 2022. "As I told Prime Minister Ciuca earlier today in our robust discussion, I want the Romanian people to know that you are not alone. In all of your humanitarian efforts, the United States is your committed partner", the Ambassador said.

Thomas-Greenfield has been on a tour of Moldova and Romania, visiting refugee centers and speaking with local officials, NGOs and refugees. She made her remarks at Bucharest's Gara de Nord train station, a transit center for Ukrainians fleeing through Romania. According to the U.N., more than 4 million refugees have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion, and 643,058 had entered Romania as of Sunday.

In an interview shortly after her speech, Thomas-Greenfield told NPR's Michel Martin that Russia should be held to a higher standard as a permanent member of the Security Council, and yet "has done everything they can to, in my view, damage the international order and to compromise the U.N. values; compromise the Human Rights Council." She vowed to hold them accountable, including through a suspension from the council.

"It's more than symbolic, and it does have force because it continues what we have started, that is to isolate Russia and call them out for what they are doing," she said. "They have a narrative that what they are doing is normal. This is not normal. It is not acceptable, and they will hear from the entire world that we will not continue to allow their misinformation, their propaganda, to be used on a U.N. platform."

Raed Arafat, Head of the Romanian Department for Emergency Situations, shows US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield the facilities of the Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest, Romania, April 4, 2022.
Raed Arafat, Head of the Romanian Department for Emergency Situations, shows US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield the facilities of the Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest, Romania, April 4, 2022.

Thomas-Greenfield said that refugees coming out Kyiv, Mariupol and other parts of Ukraine that have endured weeks of attacks are deeply traumatized.

"I'm told that as I met with some of the medical personnel today that they're seeing people who require a lot of psychological support," she said, adding that it's horrific to see what a terrible impact one man's actions can have on millions.

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