PACE invites Russian Federation back to European human rights body

Russian State Duma member Leonid Slutsky has been nominated for vice speaker of PACE. He is subject to EU sanctions

PACE invites Russian Federation back to European human rights body

Five years after Russian Federation had its voting rights removed because of the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly has voted to restore them.

"The reason is that its membership in this organization is one of the few available means of the global society to prosecute Russian Federation for its violation of the human rights", she stated.

The Council of Europe, which is separate from the European Union, has no binding powers but brings together around 300 lawmakers from 47 states to make recommendations on rights and democracy. This draft resolution could finally be approved by the Assembly directly on June 24.

The sanctions - none of them economic - had been applied in Moscow in 2014, after the annexation of the Crimea and the Donbass war.

Ukrainian delegation member Iryna Herashchenko, who is first deputy speaker of Ukraine's parliament, said that the "Ukrainian delegation challenged the credentials of the Russian murders".

Five of the seven Dutch delegates, for example, backed the reversal.

All PACE member states have the "rights to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials, " the Parliamentary Assembly said after passing an amendment to its rules of procedure by 118 votes to 62, with 10 abstentions.

That means Russian Federation can present a delegation to PACE on June 25, paving the way for the country to participate in the election of a new secretary-general for the Council of Europe the next day.

Ukraine had warned that the Council of Europe would "discredit" its "authority to mentor member states" if PACE votes to reinstate Russian Federation.

Leader of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, Volodymyr Ariev, said after the vote that it sends Russian Federation "A very bad message: do whatever you want, annex territories of other countries, kill people, and you still get to keep everything".

"PACE session starts today".

When the Russian Federation delegation arrived on Tuesday, it was immediately challenged.

In 2014, Russian Federation was stripped of its voting rights in PACE following Moscow's takeover of Crimea and its backing of militant separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed some 13,000 people since April 2014.

Russia, which since being stripped of its voting rights had exerted political pressure and stopped its €33 million-per-year contribution to the Council's budget.

He discussed the issue with Germany's Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France last week.

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