World: The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) voted to suspend Russia’s membership with immediate effect on Wednesday due to its invasion of Ukraine, in a mostly symbolic move, just after Moscow informed the organisation that it had planned to quit.
“The message is clear: There will always be consequences after actions. Peace is a fundamental right of human beings. Guaranteed to all. Without exception,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, a Georgian whose homeland was seized by Russia in 2008, tweeted after the vote.
As per the sources, over two-thirds of UNWTO’s 160 member states voted in favour of the resolution to suspend Russia’s membership.
The vote had been planned even before Russia declared its decision to exit the organisation, starting a process the UNWTO said would take a year to complete.
The Tourism Minister of Spain, Reyes Maroto, who presided over the special session of the Madrid-based body, said Russia’s invasion “injures the founding principles of the UN and the values represented by tourism, such as prosperity, peace and universal respect” and called for an end of hostilities.
The suspension might be lifted, according to the Spanish government, if the Assembly perceives “a change in Russian Federation policy.” The Assembly will reconvene in 2023.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, told reporters that Russia’s decision to leave the UNWTO, which offers technical assistance to boost tourism, would not affect the sector in Russia.
“The tourism industry, particularly domestic tourism, will continue its development. The external directions for tourism are also open, depending on problems of quality and price competitiveness, “he stated, without going into detail.
The United Nations General Assembly voted earlier this month to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council due to claims of human rights violations in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce that it would also leave that body.
Russia, which calls its activities in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and defend it from fascists, has denied accusations of human rights abuses.