Pakistan and Nepal were re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, China won a seat by the smallest margin while Saudi Arabia was defeated in the elections.
In Tuesday’s voting at the General Assembly, China received only 139 votes compared to the 180 it got in 2016 after which Human Rights Watch’s UN Director Louis Charbonneau tweeted that it “shows more states are disturbed by China’s abysmal rights record.”
China managed to secure a win despite its treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority and opposition of several countries and human rights groups.
‘States disturbed by China’s abysmal rights record’
A group of 39 countries led by Germany had issued strong criticism of China last week at the UN saying they were “gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong.”
Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo slammed the United Nations for electing “authoritarian regimes” like China, Russia and Cuba into the UN Human Rights Council adding that the US’ decision to withdraw from the council has been “validated”.
Russia, which was defeated in 2016 by two votes, made a comeback getting 158 votes.
While Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its human rights record, its defeat was a surprise as it had received 152 votes in 2016 when it was last elected.
Millions of Uighurs in concentration camps
Uighur Muslims in China’s restive Xinjiang region are facing systematic persecution.
Recently, The New York Times report said that China, in recent years, closed and demolished many major shrines, mosques and other holy structures across Xinjiang.
Citing a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), NYT reported that around 8,500 mosques across Xinjiang have been completely demolished since 2017.
Millions of Uighurs have been arrested and put in concentration camps which Beijing calls “re-education camps”. There are reports that Communist China has ordered forced sterilization of Uighur women.