The UN Human Rights Council has voted to not debate the remedy of the Uighurs and different principally Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern area of Xinjiang even after the UN’s human rights workplace concluded the dimensions of the alleged abuses there might quantity to “crimes towards humanity“.
The movement for a debate on the difficulty was defeated by 19 votes to 17, with 11 international locations abstaining in a choice China welcomed and others condemned as “shameful”.
A lot of those that voted “no” had been Muslim-majority international locations corresponding to Indonesia, Somalia, Pakistan, UAE and Qatar. Among the many 11 international locations that abstained had been India, Malaysia and Ukraine.
“This can be a victory for growing international locations and a victory reality and justice,” Hua Chunying, China’s international affairs spokesperson tweeted. “Human rights should not be used as a pretext to make up lies and intervene in different international locations’ inside affairs, or to comprise, coerce & humiliate others.”
The UN first revealed the existence of a community of detention centres in Xinjiang in 2018, saying no less than a million Uighurs and different ethnic minorities had been being held within the system. China later admitted there have been camps within the area, however mentioned they had been vocational expertise coaching centres essential to deal with “extremism”.
Amid leaks of official authorities paperwork, investigations by human rights teams and lecturers, and testimony from Uighurs themselves, China has lobbied laborious to stop any additional probe into the scenario in Xinjiang.
Former UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, who first referred to as for “unfettered” entry to the area in 2018, was solely allowed to go to in Might, in what seemed to be a tightly-choreographed go to.
Her report (PDF) on the scenario was additionally pushed again and was solely launched on August 31, minutes earlier than her time period was resulting from finish.
Whereas it didn’t point out the phrase “genocide”, it discovered that “severe human rights violations” had been dedicated, and mentioned “the extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and different predominantly Muslim teams … might represent worldwide crimes, particularly crimes towards humanity.”
The Uighurs are a principally Muslim Turkic individuals who differ in faith, language and tradition from China’s majority Han ethnic group.
The USA, which referred to as for the controversy, condemned the most recent vote.
“The inaction shamefully suggests some international locations are free from scrutiny and allowed to violate human rights with impunity,” Michele Taylor, the US consultant to the Human Rights Council, mentioned in an announcement. “No nation represented right here at the moment has an ideal human rights file. No nation, irrespective of how highly effective must be excluded from Council discussions — this consists of my nation, the US, and it consists of the Folks’s Republic of China.”
Within the wake of the UN report, Uighur teams had urged the UN Human Rights Council to ascertain a fee of inquiry to independently study the remedy of Uighurs and different minorities in China and referred to as on the UN Workplace on Genocide Prevention to instantly conduct an evaluation of the dangers of atrocities, together with genocide and crimes towards humanity in Xinjiang.
They expressed disappointment at Thursday’s consequence, with the Marketing campaign for Uyghurs noting that Beijing had been “actively making an attempt to suppress” the report “at each stage”.
“Some member states have adopted China’s genocide denial,” the group’s Government Director Rushan Abbas mentioned in an announcement. “They need to contemplate the results of permitting one highly effective nation to successfully have impunity for committing genocide.”
Alim Osman, president of the Uighur Affiliation of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, informed Al Jazeera he was disillusioned and indignant on the choice.
“That even a debate on the human rights scenario is just not allowed by few a international locations which have financial ties with the Chinese language regime clearly reveals on the worldwide stage that their ethical obligation to defend human rights is on the market, subsequently corrupting the UN itself,” he mentioned. “The UN wants pressing reform.”
Human rights teams additionally condemned the vote.
In a strongly-worded assertion, Amnesty Worldwide’s Secretary Basic Agnes Callamard mentioned the choice protected the perpetrators reasonably than the victims of abuses.
“For Council member states to vote towards even discussing a scenario the place the UN itself says crimes towards humanity might have occurred makes a mockery of every thing the Human Rights Council is meant to face for.” Callamard mentioned in an announcement.
“Member states’ silence — or worse, blocking of debate — within the face of the atrocities dedicated by the Chinese language authorities additional sullies the popularity of the Human Rights Council.
“The UN Human Rights Council has at the moment failed the check to uphold its core mission, which is to guard the victims of human rights violations in all places, together with in locations corresponding to Xinjiang.”