'Human Rights Of People Of Xinjiang Should Be Respected, Guaranteed': India Tells China After Abstaining At UNHRC Vote

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 7, 2022 05:06 PM +05:30 IST
'Human Rights Of People Of Xinjiang Should Be Respected, Guaranteed': India Tells China After Abstaining At UNHRC VoteMEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

India has said that the human rights of the people of Xinjiang must be "respected and guaranteed", a day after it abstained from voting on a draft resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the issue.

Speaking at the weekly press conference of the Ministry of External Affairs, official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India's vote at the UNHRC was "in line with its long-held position".

"India remains committed to all human rights. India favours a dialogue to deal with such issues," Bagchi noted.

"The human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region should be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the relevant party will address the situation," the MEA spokesperson added.

On Thursday (6 October), the draft resolution on "holding a debate on the situation of human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China" was rejected in the 47-member council after 17 members voted in favour, 19 members voted against, including China, and 11 abstentions, including India, Brazil, Mexico and Ukraine.

India abstained from voting on a draft resolution just days after it helped block China's bid to pass an anti-AUKUS resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Under the AUKUS alliance, the United States and the United Kingdom will supply nuclear-powered attack submarines or SSNs to Australia. The deal, announced earlier this year, comes at a time when Australia's relations with China have deteriorated sharply.

China hasn't been happy with the announcement of the AUKUS deal. When Australia receives the submarines under this deal, the Chinese will have to worry about eight more nuclear-powered submarines (say in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait), possibly much more capable than what it can deploy currently and in the next few years.

UNHRC Resolution

The draft resolution was presented by a core group consisting of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA, and co-sponsored by a range of states, including Turkey.

China director at Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, said in a statement that for the first time in its history, the UN’s top human rights body considered a proposal to debate the human rights situation in the Xinjiang region of China.

“While the Council’s failure to adopt the proposal is an abdication of responsibility and a betrayal of Uyghur victims, the extremely close vote highlights the growing number of states willing to take a stand on principle and shine a spotlight on China’s sweeping rights violations,” Richardson said.

Richardson noted that “nothing will erase the stain of China’s crimes against humanity, laid bare” by a recent report of former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

“We urge incoming High Commissioner Volker Turk to brief the Council on his office’s report, and we call on states, companies, and the international community to implement the report’s recommendations and hold Chinese authorities accountable for their international crimes,” Richardson added.

Serious allegations of human rights violations against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim communities in China were brought to the attention of the UN Human Rights Office and UN human rights mechanisms since late 2017.

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