NOS . News•
The United Nations Human Rights Council has decided not to discuss human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Province. The proposal of Western countries to put this issue on the agenda did not receive a majority today. In addition to China itself, Indonesia, Qatar, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates, among others, voted against discussing the issue.
Five weeks ago, the United Nations concluded that China had committed “serious human rights violations” against the Uighurs in Xinjiang. According to the researchers, there is systematic torture and ill-treatment in the reeducation camps where members of the Muslim minority are held.
After the report was published, the US and UK, among other countries, invited a discussion on the Uyghurs at the UN Human Rights Council. This will be the first time that the UN body has discussed the human rights situation in China.
19 countries against, 17 against
“We cannot ignore such serious and systematic violations of human rights,” British diplomat Simon Manley said last month. This council must not be silent and cannot.”
However, the United Nations body, which was set up in 2006 to monitor compliance with human rights treaties, now does so. Of the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council, 19 voted against discussing human rights violations in Xinjiang, and 17 were in favor. The remaining 11 members abstained, including Brazil and Ukraine.
Here are the pros and cons:
Before the vote, China’s representative to the United Nations warned that the proposal would set a dangerous precedent for human rights investigations in other countries. “China today is targeted, but tomorrow any other country can be targeted,” he said.
Beijing has a permanent seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. “It’s always difficult for countries to vote against a permanent member,” a Western diplomat told the Associated Press afterward. He admitted that it is particularly difficult for countries that have economic or political ties with China, such as Kazakhstan, to speak out.
After the results were announced, the hall in Geneva where the Human Rights Council meets was met with applause, which rarely happens at meetings of the United Nations body.
The UN investigation into the Uyghurs, released at the end of August, has been three years in the making. The report followed a series of publications by international media and human rights organizations about the treatment of China’s Muslim minority.
It is alleged that Beijing, which has consistently denied these allegations, tried to prevent the report from being published.
China reporter Schord Den Das traveled through Xinjiang two years ago and gave this report on the Uyghurs:
Imprisonment, Punishment, and Brainwashing: The Fate of the Uyghurs
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