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File: Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava previously served as the country's top diplomat at the UN

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Zim joins rogues’ gallery in UN vote

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ZIMBABWE is part of a club of rogues, including eight other African states and authoritarian regimes like China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Russia itself, that voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council.

MOSES MATENGA

In the vote, Zimbabwe sided with rogue regimes known for authoritarianism and human rights violations at a time the Russian military is mercilessly killing and displacing millions including women and children on a daily basis.

The UN General Assembly on Thursday suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” in Ukraine.

A total of 93 countries voted in favour, while 24 were against and 58 abstained.

Although Zimbabwe initially abstained from the 2 March vote that saw the UN General Assembly voting to demand that Russia stop its offensive and immediately withdraw its troops, this time around Harare chose to take the side of the military attack that has seen thousands dead and millions of civilians displaced.

By taking sides with Russia, Zimbabwe has effectively put President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s international re-engagement efforts in flames as the southern African country is now lumped together with Russia and other authoritarian regimes that sought to block the sanctioning of Moscow.

Mnangagwa is seeking to mend relations with the West including the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union but the latest vote is likely to further isolate Harare.

Just like Zimbabwe, Algeria, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon and Mali voted against.

Of the countries that voted against, Burundi is facing a severe crisis that include killings, political repression and a dire security situation while Algeria is also faced with serious challenges to human rights that include substantial restrictions of freedom of association, assembly and movement, alongside state control over freedom of expression and of the press.

Other countries that voted against also have their human rights issues, some of them red flagged by global human rights organisations and civil society with Zimbabwe even under sanctions over a litany of violations that include state-sponsored violence.

Zimbabwe also voted with other regimes classified as rogue, including North Korea, China and Iran.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sierra Leone are the countries that voted for.

Twenty-three African countries including neighbouring South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia abstained.

United States ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the UN has sent a clear message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored.

“We ensured a persistent and egregious human rights violator will not be allowed to occupy a position of leadership on human rights at the UN,” she said.

The Thursday resolution was the third adopted by the 193-member General Assembly since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on 24 February.

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