By Aqil Abdullah
Oct 26, 2020
To the Uyghurs’ disappointment, China was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Oct 13, 2020. The UN Human Rights Council is responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. However, it seems the organization’s characteristic has changed since it elected a country that has been alleged of committing crimes against humanity. China has been receiving backlash over mass rights violations including the genocide of the Uyghurs in East Turkistan.
Thousands of social media users were surprised by the news and found it ridiculous. They described it very sarcastically using vivid analogies. Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN Watch said, “Electing these dictatorships as UN judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade.’” “Electing China to the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Jeffrey Epstein in charge of a girl’s boarding school.” CJ Werleman, Columnist for Byline Times, and Inside Arabia said.
Some of the US and European officials expressed their disagreement with the appointment. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The UN General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records.” Lisa Nandy, the UK shadow foreign secretary warned that Britain must oppose giving China a seat on the UN’s human rights body in protest at its abuse of Uyghur Muslims, according to The Guardian news on Saturday, Oct 10.
Some activists also expressed their strong opposition to the most unfair election in history. The President of World Uyghur Congress Dolkun Isa wrote on Twitter account Uyghurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, Southern Mongols, and all people who truly respect Human Rights regretted China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council. This was a historical mistake of the UN Human Rights Council. Salih Hudayar, Prime Minister of East Turkistan Government In Exile said, “China’s election as a member of the UN Human Rights Council is equal to the Nazis being elected. By voting for China, the UN General Assembly is only empowering China to continue its brutal campaign of colonization and genocide in Occupied East Turkistan.” The President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay remarked, “China’s election to the Council casts an indelible stain on the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council. There is mounting evidence of China’s egregious human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkistan (CHN: Xinjiang), Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia (CHN: Inner Mongolia), and other regions under China. The human rights violations in Tibet have gone from bad to worse with reports of over half a million Tibetans subjected to forced labor camps in Tibet. And yet China is elected to one of the most important UN bodies tasked with the protection of human rights. This undermines the integrity of the Council.”
Uyghurs were really dismayed by the UN Human Rights Council and as the organization accepted China as a member again despite its serious human rights violations records. It is a black stain on China’s ruined image for eternity. Chinese officials, on the contrary, said, “Following a path with Chinese characteristics, China has made great achievements in human rights development.” This controversial remark raises a number of troubling questions: What is human rights protection in Chinese characteristics? Is it detaining millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps? Does China think that carrying out genocide against Uyghurs in an attempt to eradicate them is a great achievement in human rights? Or do Uyghurs not have any human rights as other humans in the world?