Paul Grod: With a Russian veto, the UN Security Council is not fit for purpose

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April 8,2022 349
Paul Grod: With a Russian veto, the UN Security Council is not fit for purpose

Grotesque and vile, these were the two words that came to mind when I was watching yesterday’s UN security council meeting on Ukraine.

According to the Ambassador from the Russian federation, Vasily Nebenzya, the oppressors are the oppressed; the heroes are the Nazis; the murdered are the killers.

Prior to his statement, the American Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she would not dignify the Russian statement, or rather Russian lies, with a response. The problem is, even allowing Russia to make such claims on one of the most important global platforms in the world, is an embarrassing complicity in their actions. It gives Russia, as President Zelenskyy astutely pointed out to the entire council, the right to vote in favour of killing Ukrainians.

So although the American Ambassador stated that the US, as well as the UK, would like to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, they are still not brave enough to state plainly that Russia should not have a veto, let alone that Russia should not have a seat at one of the most important decision-making tables in the world.

Again, as President Zelenskyy pointed out to the council, this is not the first time that Russia has acted with such impunity. They have done this before in Syria, in Afghanistan, in countless other settings and they have never had significant action taken against them. They continue to believe, and indeed they are right, that they can get away with war crimes and the invasion of sovereign nations, without any repercussions.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Russian justification for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as heard in the lies told by Mr Nebenzya to the security council will now be used to further justify and indeed, promote, Russia’s anti-Ukrainian, and anti-West rhetoric. This speech, facilitated by the UN Security Council itself will now form an integral part of the Russian propaganda machine that allows them to continue their warpath of destruction. I don’t see how we can possibly begin to fight such an insidious threat to the Western liberal order when we ourselves are giving the aggressors the opportunity to continue promoting their lies on a silver platter.

Russia must be removed from the UN security council.

It must also be removed from all other international institutions; INTERPOL; the Human Rights Council; the G20; the list goes on. Democratic values were already under threat around the world before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now we need to rekindle the spirit of 1989. The more we allow Russia to participate as an equal partner in these important global institutions, the more we degrade and devalue them, the more we are complicit in Russia’s crimes.

Ukrainians are being massacred by Russians; they are being tortured by Russians; they are being raped by Russians. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has verified a total of 1,480 civilian deaths of April 4, 2022. Of them, 123 were children. Furthermore, 2,195 people were reported to have been injured. However, OHCHR specified that the real numbers are ‘definitely higher’. Not only that but the IOM estimated yesterday that 7.1 million Ukrainians are now internally displaced. And why? Because Russia has been allowed to invade its neighbour based on lies. Dismissing their reasoning and not dignifying it with a response is not a luxury afforded to Ukrainians who are being stripped by Russian soldiers to check their bodies for Nazi tattoos.

Those NATO allies to whom Ukraine has appealed for military assistance and sanctions are simply not doing enough. Ukraine needs more planes, it needs more tanks and other sophisticated weaponry that it has been requesting for many weeks now in order stop Russian aggression. This is not an escalation of the conflict but rather the prevention of a genocide against the Ukrainian people and the destruction of Ukraine itself.

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