MEA defends decision to abstain from ‘Xinjiang rights abuses’ vote

India has defended its decision to abstain from voting on rights abuses in China‘s Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council. India also maintained that it remained committed to upholding all human rights.

During a media briefing, MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said: “It’s in line with India’s practice of not voting on the country-specific resolution.” He was replying to a question on the issue. “We have taken note of the OHCHR Assessment of human rights concerns in Xinjiang… The human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region should be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly,” Bagchi said.

Earlier, Congress‘ Manish Tewari wondered why there was “so much diffidence on China”. “The Government of India will not agree to a parliamentary debate on Chinese incursions. India will abstain at UNHRC on a resolution for debate on human rights in Xinjiang,” he had tweeted.

India along with Ukraine, Armenia, Brazil and others had abstained during the UNHRC vote. Sources recalled China didn’t take a strident anti-India position in 2019 when UNHRC debated Kashmir “report” and “reports” on other issues associated with India.

The US and its allies last month presented the first-ever draft decision to the UHRC targeting China. It was co-sponsored by Britain, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Australia and Lithuania. The move came after ex-UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet released her report on Xinjiang last month, citing possible crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region.

Countries on the 47-member council voted 19-17 against holding a debate, with 11 countries abstaining. Those who abstained were Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Brazil, Gambia, India, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico and Ukraine. Those who voted against having a discussion were Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Sudan, the UAE, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. ET has learnt that China lobbied hard with the African members of UNHRC before the vote.

The Chinese envoy accused the West of double standards on human rights.

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