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Amnesty International blasts U.N. council for not taking up Uyghur issue

Amnesty International's Secretary General Agnes Callamard said the U.N. Human Rights Council has "failed the test to uphold its core mission, which is to protect the victims of human rights violations everywhere, including in places such as Xinjiang" Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Wikimedia Commons
Amnesty International's Secretary General Agnes Callamard said the U.N. Human Rights Council has "failed the test to uphold its core mission, which is to protect the victims of human rights violations everywhere, including in places such as Xinjiang" Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Wikimedia Commons

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Amnesty International said Thursday that the decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to not take up the debate on China's alleged human rights violations in its Xinjiang region was a step back for the organization.

A draft decision to hold the debate failed, with 19 votes for the draft, 17 against and 11 abstentions. More than half of the members were needed to vote for the draft for it to move forward to a debate.

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In August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on allegations of rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority communities in the region, which have long been a concern for activists.

"The recent report on Xinjiang by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was an important step forward in addressing crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations committed byte Chinese government in Xinjiang, yet today the U.N. has taken two steps back," Amnesty International's Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a statement.

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"For council member states to vote against even discussing a situation where the U.N. itself says crimes against humanity may have occurred makes a mockery of everything the Human Rights Council is supposed to stand for."

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The U.N. report was delayed because of China's late rebuttal that required the names and faces of people in the report to be redacted. It comes on the heels of serious allegations made against China by human rights organizations, the United States, Britain, Canada and other countries over the years.

Some have accused China of practicing genocide against the population.

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"The U.N. Human Rights Council has today failed the test to uphold its core mission, which is to protect the victims of human rights violations everywhere, including in places such as Xinjiang," Callamard said.

"Despite the deeply disappointing result of this vote, the fight for justice and truth for those victims and their families continues.

"Amnesty International will continue to demand accountability even when multiple governments fail to."

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