India on Thursday abstained from voting on a draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council to hold a debate on the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang region.

Human rights groups have been expressing alarm over what is happening in the resource-rich northwestern Chinese province for years. They allege that Beijing is holding more than a million Uighurs against their will in the name of ‘re-education’.

17 of the 47 members of the council voted in favor of a draft resolution to debate the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. But 19 members including China voted against it. Eleven members, including India, Brazil, Mexico and Ukraine, abstained during the vote.

The draft resolution was presented by a core group consisting of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and was co-sponsored by several countries, including Turkey.

Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement that for the first time in its history, the UN’s top human rights body has considered a resolution to debate the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang region.

The Government of India said that India is committed to stand up for all kinds of human rights. However, India feels that it is not right to bring a proposal against any particular country. This requires constant constructive discussions. Human rights should be ensured in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. They hope that the concerned parties will take appropriate measures in this regard.

Richardson pointed out that ‘nothing will erase the stain of China’s crimes against humanity’ in a recent report by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Since late 2017, serious allegations of human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim communities in China have been brought to the attention of the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Human Rights Mechanism.

(October 8)