UN Human Rights Council: No debate on Uyghurs

Weastern countries have a defeat at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva China plugged in. An attempt to force a debate on the UN High Commissioner’s report on human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region failed on Thursday. Nineteen members of the Council voted against the motion, 17 in favor and 11 abstained. Germany was for it. When the result was announced, there was applause. China’s side included Venezuela, Cuba, Pakistan and Qatar.

The High Commissariat witnessed signs of crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang region in late August. Uyghurs and members of other minorities and human rights organizations have been reporting for years that hundreds of thousands of people there have been put in re-education camps against their will, tortured in some cases and made to do forced labour. The report is the first comprehensive UN document on the situation. It refers, among other things, to Chinese government documents.

“The extent of the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups (…) could constitute international crimes, particularly crimes against humanity,” it said.

The United States, Norway and other countries wanted the report to be on the agenda at the next UN Human Rights Council meeting in spring 2023. It is also possible that the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, will present the report himself at the Human Rights Council. His predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, published it on August 31, just before midnight, when she left office. Türk will take office on October 17.

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