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Global NGOs Question Russia's Bid For UN Human Rights Body

Some 80 international human-rights nongovernmental organizations have issued a statement urging United Nations countries to consider whether Russia's role in Syria "renders it unfit to serve" on the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN General Assembly will select new members of the council on October 28, and Russia is competing against Hungary and Croatia for one of the two "eastern European" slots on the 47-member body.

The October 24 open letter from the NGOs said Russia has "routinely targeted civilians and civilian objects" in its campaign of air strikes to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow's actions in Syria, the letter said, "stand in clear contrast to its rhetorical commitment to human rights." In addition, the letter noted Russia's October 8 decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution "aimed at ending atrocities in Aleppo."

The letter was signed by Human Rights Watch, Care International, and dozens of NGOs working in Syria.