1. India abstains again in UN vote
HRC panel to probe Russian actions
India on Friday abstained on a vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as the Council decided to set up an international commission of enquiry into Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The resolution, the strongest one to be adopted by the UN system yet, “strongly condemned” aggression by Russia, and said it was “gravely concerned” about reports of rights violations by Russian forces, civilian casualties and the forced displacement of 6,60,000 refugees due to Russian “bombing and shelling”.
India was among 13 countries of the 47-member council elected from UN members that abstained from the resolution, along with China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. Significantly the vote followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attendance at a meeting of Quad leaders hosted by U.S. President Joseph Biden, as well as a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing where senior officials made it clear that the U.S. has “spared no effort” to push India to change its position, with little success.
Thirty-two countries, or nearly two-thirds of the Council voted for the resolution that asked the HRC president to appoint three human rights experts for a year.
UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.
- Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation.
- Each elected member serves for a term of three years.
- Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
- The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
- It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).
2. ‘Geopolitical events have added to challenges for central banks’
Financial markets have turned volatile amid heightened uncertainty: RBI’s Das
Financial markets the world over have turned extremely volatile as they have been left grappling with heightened uncertainty over the pace of future monetary policy normalisation, Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Friday.
“Recent geopolitical developments have further aggravated the challenges and dilemmas for the central banks,” Mr. Das said, without specifying the developments he was referring to.
“The current global conditions, after about two years of living through the pandemic, are now posing complex challenges for central bank communication,” he noted, delivering an address on Monetary Policy and Central Bank Communication at the National Defence College in New Delhi.
“A number of economies, including the major ones, are facing multi-decadal high inflation due to supply disruptions, tighter labour markets, fragility of the just in time inventory management and geopolitical disturbances,” he added.
“Central banks are in a bind — if they act aggressively to contain inflation which may perhaps subside as normalcy returns, they run the risk of setting in recession; on the other hand, if they act too little and too late, they may be blamed for “falling behind the curve” and may have to do a lot of catching up later, which will be detrimental to growth,” the RBI Governor observed.
Stating that communication was an extremely potent component of the toolkit of modern central banks, Mr. Das said it needed to be balanced and well-telegraphed to avoid unintended consequences.