The UN General Assembly announced on Tuesday that China had been elected to the UN’s Human Rights Council, despite Uyghur campaign groups flagging massive rights abuses against the Muslim minority in the west of the country.
However, Russia failed to get re-elected as a member of the United Nations body, following the state’s expulsion from last April due to the invasion of Ukraine.
The news came after human rights campaigners were working to decrease support for China at the UN.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project issued a statement on Tuesday, which was backed by 91 rights groups, firmly opposing China’s candidacy.
“China concurrently sought to halt the publication of an OHCHR report on serious human rights violations in the Uyghur region, and said that it would not cooperate with OHCHR following its release,” the statement said.
“The Chinese government has also cracked down on human rights defenders and rights lawyers with increasing severity.”
The Uyghur Human Rights Project has since responded in a post on X to China’s re-election, stating: “Crimes against humanity and genocide apparently [are] not disqualifying actions for UN’s top human rights body.”
This follows the UN’s recent findings which reportedly China’s expansion of a state-run boarding school system in Xinjiang.
UN experts reported that Uyghur and other minority Muslim children are forcibly separated from their families and are subjected to compulsory assimilation into the majority Mandarin culture.
Savita Pawnday, the executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, tweeted on X, discussing the human rights records of several other countries, including China, who were elected to the Human Rights Council.
“Today’s election of Burundi and China undermines the Council’s credibility,” she wrote on X. “Burundi and China along with other perpetrators of likely atrocities, including Cameroon, Eritrea, UAE and Sudan have no place on @UN_HRC.”
The Human Rights Council’s 47 members are selected by region.
China was one of four countries that were working to gain one of the four open seats in the Asian group to join Japan, Indonesia and Kuwait. Indonesia led the voting with 186 votes, while China was fourth with 154.