Saudi Arabia has once again failed to join the United Nations Human Rights Council, while China and Russia have been elected for the next three years despite objections over their abysmal human rights records. As per reports, the decision was made following a secret ballot which allowed all 47 members of the special counsel to vote on new members. While rejecting Saudi Arabia, the UN agency cited the killing of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Cuba were also elected to fill the vacant seats. As per reports, the 15 vacant seats were distributed between five regions. Out of the total, the only contested region in the 2020 elections was the Asia-Pacific, where China and Saudi Arabia were in a five-way race with Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Nepal for four seats. While China received 139 votes, it was down from the last time it stood for a seat in 2016 when it had gained 180.
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UK lawyers against China
Meanwhile, five British lawmakers have urged the UK Parliament to bring new laws to sanction Chinese officials involved in the alleged human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang. The parliamentarians debated over the reports of forced labour programmes and other abuses in the Chinese provinces. As per The Guardian Reports, Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, also co-chair of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), advocated imposing travel bans and freezing the assets of Chinese officials responsible for rights abuse.
IPAC member Tim Loughton is also reported to have called for reciprocal access to Tibet since Chinese officials enjoy broad access to the UK. The Conservative leader stressed the importance of sending a strong signal to China over human rights abuse. He said that China has no divine right to gain immunity from being called out on such issues.
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(Image Credits: AP)