Singapore abstained from a vote to suspend Russia from the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Apr 7, 2022, joining 57 other countries in doing so.
93 voted in favour, while 24 voted against.
Ms Tang Jo-Phie, Singapore’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, later took the floor and explained the nations’s abstention.
She said that Singapore urges all parties to cooperate with an independent commission and allow full and unhindered access for the Commission to gather evidence and conduct its work.
Singapore also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing attacks on Ukrainian cities, civilians and infrastructure in the strongest possible terms, she added.
“Singapore is gravely concerned and distressed by the latest reports and images from Bucha and other Ukrainian towns of high civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure. We strongly condemn any violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” she said.
She later reiterated the country’s position on the Ukraine conflict.
“Singapore’s position on this has been clear and consistent from the beginning of this war. This is why we co-sponsored and voted in support of Resolution ES-11/1 (Aggression against Ukraine), Resolution ES-11/2 (Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine) and also co-sponsored Human Rights Council Resolution 49/1,” said Ms Tang.
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Feb 28 that Singapore shall impose sanctions such as export controls on items that can be used directly as weapons in Ukraine to inflict harm, and blocks on certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia.
Statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs also published a statement on Apr 8, in response to media queries.
Here’s the full statement:
“Singapore abstained from the vote as we await the findings of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry investigating alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine.
The Commission was mandated by Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 49/1 on the “Situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression”, which was adopted on Mar 4, 2022. Singapore was a co-sponsor of this HRC resolution. Singapore is gravely concerned and distressed by the reports and images from Bucha and other Ukrainian towns of high civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. We strongly condemn any violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and there must be accountability. We hence urge all parties to cooperate with the Commission, and allow it full and unhindered access so that it can gather evidence and conduct its work.
We reiterate our full support for the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Singapore’s position on this has been clear and consistent from the beginning of this conflict. Our abstention on this particular resolution is consistent with our longstanding and steadfast support for the rules-based multilateral system and the due application of its mechanisms.”
Cover photo credit: UN YouTube page