GENEVA - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decried what he terms the "double standards" employed at the U.N. Human Rights Council in favor of Western democratic values, at the expense of what he calls the legitimate sovereign rights of nations that do not fall within the Western orbit.
Lavrov did not hide his disdain Tuesday at the so-called country-specific resolutions adopted by the Council, saying the resolutions had become an increasingly popular pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states.
The Russian foreign minister criticized the imposition of unilateral sanctions often used by Western countries to topple governments.
"This harmful practice leads to exacerbating confrontation and ultimately restricts the ability of ordinary citizens to exercise their legitimate rights," he told the Council. "The reliable securing of rights and freedoms is incompatible with double standards. And in this context, one can wonder at the sight that some Western partners, who declare themselves champions of democracy, deliberately turn a blind eye to the outrageous oppression of human rights in the Ukraine."
Lavrov didn't offer names, though the European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed sanctions on Russia and the Crimea following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine in February 2014.
The U.N. Human Rights Office reports the war has resulted in the deaths of some 13,000 people, a quarter of them civilians. Another 30,000 people have been injured, and 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine since the start of the conflict and Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Lavrov also lashed out at Western powers for their support and justification of military actions committed by what he called "radical" and "terrorist" groups in Idlib in northwestern Syria.
"It is difficult to find any other explanation for calls for peace agreements to be concluded with bandits as we see regarding the situation in Idlib," he said. "That is not caring for human rights. That is capitulating before terrorists or even encouraging their activities in violation of international treaties and numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions."
Lavrov's observations come just as the United Nations has warned of a potential bloodbath of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Idlib if Russian-backed Syrian government forces do not stop their indiscriminate carpet-bombing of the region.
Lavrov urged the Human Rights Council to resolutely renounce what he called double standards. He said that's why his government has decided to run for a seat on the 47-member Council for its 2021-2023 term.
Russia lost its bid to become a member in 2016 after a campaign by rights groups over its bombing of Syria.