UN Human Rights Council rejects debate on China's mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang

Tags: International News

The United Nations Human Rights Council on 6 October voted against a Western-led resolution to discuss China's alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.

Important facts

  • The vote was a diplomatic victory for China, proving that criticism of China's actions in Xinjiang was baseless, so the allegation was dismissed.

  • The US, Britain, Germany and other allies proposed holding the debate, but 19 members of the council voted against the resolution and 17 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while 11 did not participate in the vote.

  • India also did not participate in the voting.

  • The 47-member council is the apex human rights body of the United Nations.

Why was the motion brought up for debate?

  • In August, the United Nations published a report concluding that the rampant arbitrary detentions of Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang and "serious human rights violations" were occurring.

  • The report also said Beijing's action could be a crime against humanity.

  • The report detailed "credible" allegations of "brutal, inhuman or degrading" treatment, sexual and gender-based violence against detainees.

Who are Uighurs?

  • There are about 12 million Uighurs living in northwestern China, mostly Muslims, in the region of Xinjiang.

  • Uighurs speak their own language similar to Turkish.

  • They see themselves culturally and ethnically closer to the Central Asian countries.

  • Their population in Xinjiang is slightly less than half of the total population.

About Xinjiang

  • It lies in the north-west of China and is the country’s biggest region.

  • It is a mostly desert region, which produces about a fifth of the world's cotton.

  • It is also rich in oil and natural gas and Beijing sees it as an important trade link due to its proximity to Central Asia and Europe.

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