The Human rights council held a special session on 12th May to address the deteriorating human rights situation arising out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The special session had commenced in Room XX of the Palais des nations at 10 a.m. The meeting had been webcast live in six United Nations languages. The session is being compiled according to an official request submitted by Ukraine recently and till that time was supported by 53 states. For conducting a special session at least 1/3rd of the 47 members of the council, 16 or more, support is required. The request was far supported by the following state members of the council i.e., France, Gambia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Marshall Islands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Montenegro, United States and the Netherlands. The request also got support from the following 37 observer states: Andorra, Austria, Bosnia, Albina, Belgium, Herzegovina, Canada, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Georgia, Estonia, Greece, Denmark, Czech Republic, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Italy, Malta, Guatemala, Malta, North Macedonia, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Switzerland and Romania. These lists of the states were considered provisional in view of the fact that the list of the signatories will remain open till the holding of the special session.
With respect to the special session, the council convened an organizational meeting on 11th May at 10 a.m. This meeting was a webcast where specific details of the special session were announced. This session was the 34th special session of the council. The council on 3rd and 4th March 2022 during the 49th regular session of UNHRC held an urgent debate on the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine after which it concluded to institute an independent international commission of inquiry to examine all the alleged infringement of Human rights in reference to Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.
The Council closed its 34th special session in the afternoon of 12th May after adopting a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine arising out from the Russian aggression whereupon the council reiterated its demands for an immediate cessation of military hostilities against Ukraine and requested the independent International Commission of inquiry for conducting an inquiry inconsistent with mandates and international standards and in cooperation with other national and international mechanisms to address the events in the areas of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Kyiv, and Sumy regions at last March and February 2022. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 in Favor, 2 against and 12 in abstention. The council also advised the Russian Federation to provide representatives and staff of internal human rights and humanitarian institutions along with United Nations Specialized agencies with safe access and time without any hindrance to people who had been transferred from disputed areas of Ukraine and held on the territory of the Russian Federation or the areas occupied by them and to share a comprehensive list of such transferred person and their whereabouts with relevant parties. A discussion was held before the adoption of the resolution and the speakers were the representatives of Israel, Estonia, Belgium, Georgia Slovakia and Iran. The speakers put up among other things, the importance of securing accountability for all abuses and violations inflicted in Ukraine. Through the relevant international instruments, Justice must be served for these and all other heinous crimes. Russia should promptly cease its aggression and withdraw all its forces from the whole territory of Ukraine and must provide international human rights immediately with safe access to persons transferred from the conflicted areas of Ukraine which were under the control of the Russian Federation.