China and Russia to join UN Human Rights Council

China and Russia have both been re-elected for another three-year term to the UN Human Rights council. China ran against five other nominations in the Asia-Pacific region and whilst votes for the country were significantly down from the previous election in 2016, Beijing maintained its seat. Russia ran unopposed for the seat in the Eastern European region.

In the past three years we have seen dramatic breaches of the UN Human Rights declaration from both countries.

The decision has been controversial for several reasons. In the case of China, the CCP’s drastic internment and treatment of the Uighur Muslims, a minority ethnic group who are from the north-western region of China, is now being taken to the International Criminal Court on charges of “Crimes against humanity” and “Genocide”. To examine is also China’s involvement in the passing of the highly controversial Hong Kong Extradition Bill that sparked several weeks of intense protesting in the country.

In regards to Russia the controversy has many reasons; the poisoning of opposition leader Alexi Navalny, the imprisonment, torturing and killing of the LGBTQ+ community in Chechnya, the persecution and forced submission of the country’s 170,000 Jehovah’s witnesses under the guise that Putin has said “they cannot be called Christian”, to name a few.

The international responses to reinstatement of China and Russian’s seats have been mixed. Lisa Nandy, the UK shadow foreign secretary, called on Dominic Raab to publicly confirm the UK had no intention of voting for China, however he refused to do so due to the practice of anonymity. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said the re-election of the countries further supported the US’s decision to withdraw from the council on the grounds of the “election” process.


About Author


Freyja Elwood

January 2021
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