The Russian Federation has been suspended from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), losing with immediate effect its rights and privileges as part of the United Nations specialized agency, the international body said in a recent release.
The decision was taken at the meeting of the first extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid (Spain) attended by representatives from 99 countries. Members debated the suspension of Russia from the global tourism body. The Russian delegation declined to step up and defend its position, and instead announced its withdrawal from UNWTO before the debate took place, the release said. The Assembly voted in favor of suspension, far exceeding the two-third majority required.
&ldquoTourism is a pillar of peace and international friendship, and members of UNWTO must uphold these values or face consequences, with no exceptions,&rdquo said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. &ldquoThis emergency General Assembly shows that Russia&rsquos actions are indefensible and contrary to the very principles of UNWTO and of international governance,&rdquo he said.
According to UNWTO, suspensions are temporary and may be lifted, though only by the General Assembly and following the same procedure.
Over the past few weeks, the sports teams and players from the Federation have faced bans from various events, including Wimbledon, FIFA Men&rsquos World Cup Football, etc.
The invasion has also divided the world of arts, even within the country. Although dancers and choreographers, both Russian and from abroad, have left the famous Bolshoi Theatre following the invasion, the storied symbol of Russian culture continues with its performances, proceeds from which will be given to families of Russian soldiers who have died in the war with Ukraine.
However, according to media reports, the GES-2 (also known as MGES-2 and Tramvaynaya), the contemporary art centre owned by the V&ndashA&ndashC Foundation is far from fulfilling its dream of showcasing contemporary global and Russian artists. The centre was built on the country&rsquos second major power station built in Moscow (shut down in 2014). Following the Russian invasion, artists and curators, both from home and abroad have opted to stay away from the art centre and its activities.
Incidentally, the Venice based 59th International Art Exhibition, popularly known as the Venice Biennial (running from April 23 to November 27 this year) has no Russian representation. The organisers of the Biennial said in a release that with the curator and artists of the Pavilion of the Russian Federation having resigned from their positions, led to the cancelling of Russia&rsquos participation in the Exhibition.