Dear President Biden and Secretary Blinken,
We write today to express strong bipartisan support for current U.S. efforts, in coordination with other United Nation (UN) Member States, to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. In light of the recent announcement that this matter will be voted on tomorrow, we commend the UN for working expeditiously. We urge you and our allies to hold Russia accountable for the war crimes committed in Bucha and in other locations, and removing them from the UN Human Rights Council is a vital first step.
This past weekend, journalists and Ukrainian authorities reported the death of civilians in Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the area. Multiple sources captured images of dead civilians who were shot in the head at close-range, showed signs of torture, and had their hands tied. According to residents of the area, Russian troops entered buildings and either forcibly removed civilians or executed them. As a result of this brutal violation of international humanitarian law, hundreds of Bucha residents were killed.
According to the United Nations, Member States on the UN Human Rights Council must "commit themselves to cooperating with the Council and to upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights." Russia has violated this commitment. If a Member State fails to uphold these expectations, the General Assembly has the right to suspend the Member State from the Council for its gross and systematic violations of human rights with a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.
Russia's actions in Bucha constitute war crimes. This incident follows weeks of Russia's violation of territorial sovereignty and international law. On Monday the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced that she would work in close coordination with Ukraine and other UN Member States and partners to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. We applaud this announcement and the prompt action of your Administration and the UN to address these atrocities.
We appreciate your continued efforts and attention to upholding international law and human rights standards. Thank you for your focus on this urgent matter.