Human rights groups and China speak out loudly and oppose reactions to UN vote

Beijing pointed to failed efforts by the United States and some Western countries to discuss China’s human rights record in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council last year. next. Uyghur rights groups have expressed strong disappointment.

In a statement released by China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday, a spokesperson accused the United States and the West of “misinforming the public”, remarks that came a day after the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council United Nations rights voted on the motion to discuss the treatment of China. Muslim communities in the Xinjiang region.

The draft resolution was rejected by 19 votes against, 17 for and 11 abstentions.

The resolution, drafted by the United States and co-sponsored by Britain, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 26, asking to discuss the findings of a United Nations report on human rights in Xinjiang. at the next regular council meeting in March.

The 48-page UN report concluded in August that China’s human rights abuses against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic groups in Xinjiang “could constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”. The United States and some Western parliaments have called China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang genocide and crimes against humanity.

China’s response

Beijing said countries that backed the draft resolution “spread lies” about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and used “UN human rights bodies as a tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs and serve the agenda of using Xinjiang to contain” China.

“Xinjiang’s issues are not about human rights. They aim to counter violent terrorism, radicalization and separatism,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

Zhang Meifang, Chinese Consul General in Belfast, posted a screenshot of the voting result. “Justice prevails!” Zhang tweeted.

Disappointed rights activists

Uyghur rights organizations expressed a starkly different response to the vote.

Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, called the final vote “a missed opportunity by council members” to keep China on par with other countries.

“We are truly disappointed by the reaction of Muslim countries, we have once again witnessed the strength of our so-called Muslim brothers and sisters’ ties with China,” Isa told VOA in an email. “The international community cannot disappoint the victims of the Uyghur genocide.”

Many of the countries that voted against the resolution were Muslim-majority countries.

More than 60 Uyghur rights groups around the world issued a joint statement, urging the UN and its human rights experts to “take concrete action in accordance with their mandates” on the situation of human rights. man in Xinjiang.

In the statement, the Uyghur groups said that by voting against the motion, “Member States have manifestly disregarded the previously accepted principles of objectivity, dialogue, impartiality, non-discrimination and non-selectivity” in the within the Human Rights Council.

“The road to justice is never easy,” Omer Kanat, executive director of the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, said in the statement. “The singular goal of the Chinese government has been to silence even a discussion of the matter – we cannot allow that to happen.”

International rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also issued immediate statements soon after the failed resolution, calling the outcome a betrayal.

“Today’s vote protects the perpetrators of human rights violations rather than the victims – a shocking result that puts the UN’s top human rights body in the far-fetched position of ignoring the findings of the UN’s own human rights office,” Agnes Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said.

“[T]”The extremely close vote highlights the growing number of states willing to resist China’s pressure to remain silent, take a stand on principle, and shine a spotlight on China’s massive rights abuses,” said Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch China.

Phil Lynch, director of the International Service for Human Rights, tweeted a chart of the vote.

The reasons why some countries, even those that are predominantly Muslim, abstained or voted against the resolution are complicated, analysts said. In Africa, observers say many countries do not want to “fight” with China, the source of investment and lending on infrastructure projects.

China’s claim that it is fighting extremists and separatists in the Xinjiang region is also resonating with some countries, analysts say.

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