Suriya Chindawongse, Thailand’s permanent representative to the United Nations, defended its decision to abstain from kicking Russia off its human rights body, citing “transparency, neutrality and multilateralism.”
“Thailand considers that the decision to suspend Russia’s membership is not a small matter,” Suriya said in a statement. “The steps in the process must be done carefully on the basis of principles, verification of facts, and taking into account constructive opinions and considering possible repercussions.”
Thailand was among 58 countries who abstained yesterday to suspend Russia from the U.N.Human Rights over its gross conduct to Ukraine.
Days after Russia’s withdrawal from Bucha, a town north of Kyiv, revealed evidence of atrocities by Russian forces, the U.N. general assembly voted 93:24 to remove Russia from the council.
Russia denies killing civilians despite a growing body of evidence.
Thailand abstained alongside 57 other countries including Singapore, Cambodia, Brazil, India, and Mexico.
The resolution had the two-thirds support needed to pass. Abstentions were not counted as votes.
Russia announced afterward that it was withdrawing from the council.
Thailand has been noncommittal toward the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in March said that there was no need for Thailand to “rush to condemn” Russia.
Despite Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s stated claim of neutrality, Thailand did vote to condemn the Russian invasion early last month.
Russia is the second country after Libya in 2011 to be suspended from the body after a violent crackdown during Moammar Qaddafi’s reign.