MADRID (Reuters) - The head of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation said on Tuesday that he hoped member states will vote in favour of suspending Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in a special ballot to be held on Wednesday.
It follows a vote by the U.N. General Assembly earlier this month to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council - an inter-governmental body within the assembly - over reports of "gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights" in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce it was quitting it.
Zurab Pololikashvili, the World Tourism Organisation's recently re-elected secretary general and a Georgian former ambassador whose home country was invaded by Russia in 2008, said it was the U.N's role to establish world peace.
"In this case, this suspension will be an example that all countries must respect the rules," he said.
"Any abstention would be motivated by fear. We must not be afraid in the face of war, we must express solidarity against the war, we are talking about suspending the right of a country that has been bombing another country for two months."
He said he expected Russia's membership of the Madrid-based group to be suspended until at least next year although the final conditions of any suspension will be discussed on Wednesday.
Russia would temporarily lose involvement in an organisation that provides technical support to promote tourism, a measure that may have more symbolic consequences for Moscow.
A two-thirds majority of 160 total member states must back the suspension.
The organisation estimates that the conflict in Ukraine will have negative effects on the recovery of global tourism and could cause losses of up to $14 billion in tourism revenues and a rise in travel prices.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West says this a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.
(Reporting by Corina Pons, writing by Nathan Allen, editing by Aislinn Laing, Alexandra Hudson)