How have African countries voted on Russia and Ukraine at the United Nations?
There have been two key instances in the United Nations where African countries have had the opportunity to express their views on the Russia-Ukraine war and how it relates to international law. This post provides relevant infographics which can help in summarising and illustrating these views.
First, on March 2nd 2022, member states of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in its 11th emergency session on the Ukraine crisis, overwhelmingly voted on Resolution A/RES/ES-11/1, titled “Aggression against Ukraine.” This resolution, although not legally binding, expressed the moral authority that the international community has in its arsenal to pressure the Russian Federation to halt its invasion of Ukraine.
Although the resolution was supported by 141 member states across all regions, as shown by the infographic below, African countries were split in their voting, with 28 countries voting in favor, 1 voting against, 17 countries abstaining, and 8 not participating at all.
Second, on April 7th 2022, member states of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), still in its 11th emergency session on the Ukraine crisis adopted Resolution ES‑11/3 entitled “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council”. Taking place on the same day as the 28th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda, the only precedent for such a suspension in the HRC was an African member state, Libya, in 2011.
This resolution was supported by less member states across all regions than the vote prior – 93 member states, and as shown by the infographic below, many African countries shifted their votes, with only 10 African countries voting for the suspension, 24 African countries abstaining, and 11 not participating at all. That meant, 18 previously “yes” African countries abstained (10), voted against (1) or did not participate (7).
Our analysts have provided several public articles and briefings to explain these voting patterns, drawing on our expertise of African foreign policy as well as Africa’s geopolitical and economic engagement with partners including China, including:
- “Why African Countries Had Different Views on the UNGA Ukraine Resolution, and Why This Matters” – Commentary by Etsewhot Kebret and Hannah Ryder for the Center for Strategic International Studies, March 15, 2022
- “Does China’s Position on the Russia-Ukraine War Matter to African Countries?” – Commentary by Ovigwe Eguegu for The Diplomat, March 10th 2022
- What Did China’s Flurry of African Engagements Have to Do With Ukraine? – Commentary by Lauren Ashmore for The Diplomat, March 28th 2022.
And more will come, so do watch this space!
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