[Photo by Davi Mendes on UnSplash]

Eswatini was one of 58 countries that abstained from the vote

Eswatini on Thursday abstained from the United Nations (UN) vote to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council over allegations of gross human rights violations in Ukraine, voting in line with the majority of Southern African Development Community (SADC) states. 

Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine in February, citing a rise of Nazism in the country which is led by a Jewish president, but evidence has since emerged of Russian soldiers committing sexual assaults, beheadings and deliberate killings of civilians. 

The UN resolution against Russia was passed with 93 countries voting in favour of it, and 24 countries voting against it. 

Eswatini was one of 58 countries that abstained from the vote. Alongside Eswatini, 9 of the 16 other SADC states also abstained from the vote. 

These include Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the SADC countries of Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, and Seychelles voted in favour of the vote, while Zambia didn’t vote. 

Before the vote, Reuters reported that Russia warned countries that a ‘Yes’ vote or abstention would be viewed as an “unfriendly gesture” with consequences for bilateral relations. 

At the beginning of March, a UN resolution that demanded that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders” was passed by 141 countries voting in favour of it. 

Five countries – Belarus, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (more commonly known as North Korea), Eritrea, Russia and Syria – voted against it, while 35 abstained.

Eswatini and seven others, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco and Togo, did not participate in the vote.