During Thursday’s session of the UN Human Rights Council, India abstained from voting on a draft resolution about holding a discussion about the human rights situation in China’s restive Xinjiang region.
It has been over a year since human rights groups raised concerns about what is happening in the resource-rich north-western Chinese province, alleging that over one million Uyghurs have been detained against their will in a massive network of reeducation camps.
It has been decided that the draft resolution on “holding a debate on human rights issues in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China” will be rejected by the Council after 17 members voted in favour, 19 members voted against, including China, and 11 abstentions, including India, Brazil, Mexico and Ukraine.
Despite the fact that 17 members voted in favour, 19 voted against, including China, and 11 abstained, the draft resolution on “holding a debate on human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China” was rejected by the 47 members of the Council.
In addition to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, many other countries are co-sponsoring the draft resolution.
In a statement, Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, stated that the UN’s top human rights body is considering a proposal to debate the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
According to Richardson, the Council’s failure to accept the proposal represents a betrayal of the Uyghur victims and an abdication of responsibility. However, the extremely close vote illustrates how many states have begun to stand up on principle and bring attention to China’s systematic human rights abuses.
The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, has recently reported that “nothing can erase China’s crimes against humanity.”.
In addition, Richardson urged the incoming High Commissioner Volker Turk to present his office’s report to the Council, and called upon states, companies, and the international community to implement the recommendations and hold Chinese authorities accountable for their international crimes.
Since late 2017, the UN Human Rights Office and UN human rights mechanisms have been informed of serious allegations of human rights violations against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim communities in China.