- The UN set up an independent commission to investigate possible human rights violations by Russia.
- In a meeting on Friday, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution authorizing the inquiry.
- The commission will investigate possible human rights violations committed against Ukrainians.
The United Nations Human Rights Council said it has set up an independent commission to investigate possible human rights violations committed by Russia against Ukrainians.
A resolution was passed in Geneva during a meeting Friday morning, officially authorizing the agency to investigate any possible human rights violations “in the context of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine,” according to a statement from the agency.
As part of the resolution, which was introduced by Ukraine, the Human Rights Council said it “condemned in the strongest possible terms the human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law resulting from the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine,” according to the statement.
The resolution also “called upon the Russian Federation to immediately end its human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine,” according to the statement.
Thirty-two countries voted in favor of the resolution and 13 countries abstained from voting. Two countries — Russia and Eritrea — voted against it.
In the more than week since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, there have been calls from world leaders, advocacy groups, and other agencies to look into if human rights violations are being committed in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court‘s prosecutor announced that he is launching an investigation into potential war crimes in Ukraine.
The ICC’s decision came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia earlier this week of “widespread” human rights abuses.
“Russia’s invasion has damaged and destroyed schools, hospitals, radio stations, and homes, killing and injuring civilians, including children,” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations have previously warned that airstrikes and attacks against Ukrainian citizens may be considered war crimes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky echoed the claims, calling a Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv a “war crime” and “state terrorism.”