The UN Human Rights Council has voted against the debate on the Uighurs


NOS news

The United Nations Human Rights Council has decided not to discuss human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang province. A motion for Western countries to put the matter on the agenda did not get a majority today. Apart from China, countries including Indonesia, Qatar, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates voted against debating the issue.

Five weeks ago, the UN said China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. According to the researchers, there is systematic torture and ill-treatment in re-education camps where minority Muslims are detained.

After the publication of this report, countries including the United States and England insisted that the United Nations Human Rights Council should hold a debate on the Uyghur people. This is the first time the UN has debated China’s human rights record.

19 countries against, 17 for

“We cannot ignore such serious and systematic human rights abuses,” British diplomat Simon Manley said last month. “This House must not be silent, nor must it be.”

Yet the UN body, established in 2006 to monitor compliance with human rights treaties, now does. Of the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council, 19 voted against and 17 voted in favor of discussing human rights violations in Xinjiang. The remaining 11 members abstained, including Brazil and Ukraine.

Below are the pros and cons:

Beijing has a permanent seat on the UN Human Rights Council. “It’s always difficult for countries to vote against a permanent member,” a Western diplomat later told the Associated Press. He acknowledged that countries with economic or political ties to China, such as Kazakhstan, would find it more difficult to talk.

After the results were announced, the Geneva room of the Human Rights Council was met with applause, which rarely happens at meetings of the UN body.


The UN investigation into the Uyghurs, which emerged at the end of August, has been three years in the making. The report follows a series of publications by international media and human rights organizations on the treatment of the Muslim minority in China.

Beijing, which continues to deny the allegations, is said to have tried to prevent the report from being published.

China correspondent Sjoerd den Daas traveled through Xinjiang two years ago and made this report about the Uyghurs:

Imprisoned, Punished and Brainwashed: The Fate of the Uyghurs

Ferdinand Woolridge

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