AP: China and Russia win seat on UN rights council, Saudis lose
Wed October, 2020, Age: 2 weeks
China won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, renewing its membership in the council for the next three-year term. A total of 15 new members were elected to the 47-member body, including Russia and Cuba, which both ran unopposed. A coalition of human rights groups from Europe, the United States and Canada called on U.N. member states to oppose the election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan in the week prior to the elections, saying that these states’ human rights records made them “unqualified.”
The Human Rights Watch pointed to an unprecedented call by 50 U.N. experts on June 26 for “decisive measures to protect fundamental freedoms in China,” warning about its mass rights violations in Hong Kong and Tibet and against ethnic Uighurs in the Chinese province of Xinjiang as well as attacks on rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and government critics. Their call was echoed by over 400 civil society groups from more than 60 countries. Of the four winners of seats in the Asia-Pacific group, China got the lowest vote — 139 compared to 180 votes when it won a seat in 2016. Despite its track record of human rights violations, China has served as a member of the UNHCR for 12 years since 2006. Members of the council serve 3-year terms, and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms at a time.