Xinjiang move fails at UN despite Ukraine reversal

Ukraine yesterday indicated it had changed its mind after a historic vote by the UN Human Rights Council to refuse to discuss alleged abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Western powers suffered a major defeat at the UN’s highest authority on Thursday, failing to get enough votes to pass the first-ever attempted resolution aimed at China.

A draft resolution submitted by the United States and many other Western countries called for discussion of the UN report, citing possible crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. I just asked the board.

Photo: AFP

But in a moment of knife-edge drama, the countries of the 47-member council in Geneva, Switzerland, voted 19 to 17 against holding a human rights debate in Xinjiang, with 11 abstaining. did.

After heavy lobbying by Beijing, many of the negative and abstention votes were not a big surprise.

But Ukraine’s decision to abstain from voting, which relies heavily on Western support in combating Russian aggression, caught us off guard.

Ukraine itself seems to have had second thoughts.

In an unusual move, Yevheniia Filipenko, Permanent Representative to Ukraine at the UN Office in Geneva and other international organizations, asked yesterday, “The minutes reflect our position in favor of the adoption of the decisions referred to.” did.

Council President Federico Villegas said the UN agency “takes note of your statement” but stressed that “in accordance with rules and practices, the results of the vote… will remain as announced yesterday.”

Even if the results changed to reflect the changed vote, the resolution on China would have failed by one vote.

Among the council members who supported China against the debate were Muslim-majority countries that are backers of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It was

Beijing has dismissed allegations of rights violations, including forced labor, as the “lie of the century” and has undertaken a tour of international diplomats seeking to highlight the region’s political stability and economic transformation.

Additional coverage by Bloomberg

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