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India urges China to respect Uyghur rights after abstaining from UN vote on the issue

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(TibetanReview.net, Oct08’22) – India has made it clear Oct 7 that it abstained from supporting a motion to hold a discussion on the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN Human Right Council (UNHRC) in Geneva the day before not because it supported China but, rather, due to its practice of not voting on country-specific resolutions. In fact, it called for respect for the rights of the people of Xinjiang.

This is the first time in recent memory that India has called on China to respect the human rights of the people under the latter’s rule, possibly raising hope that the country will do the same with respect to the situation in Tibet as well, with which it has deep historical and cultural ties.

“The human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region should be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly,” the PTI news agency Oct 7 quoted Indian’s Ministry of External Affair (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi as saying.

“India remains committed to upholding all human rights. India’s vote is in line with its long held position that country specific resolutions are never helpful. India favours a dialogue to deal with such issues,” Bagchi has said.

The MEA’s response came amid criticism from opposition parties on the government’s abstention in the Geneva meeting, saying India should speak for what is right and should not be afraid of the country.

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari had asked why New Delhi had “so much diffidence on China”.

“The Government of India will not agree to a Parliamentary debate on Chinese incursions. India will abstain at UNHRC on a resolution for debate on human rights in Xinjiang,” he had tweeted.

Likewise, the report noted that Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale had tweeted, “Giving them our land and abstaining on holding them to account. What exactly is it that makes (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi so afraid of China?”

And the AIMIM political party leader Asaduddin Owaisi was reported to have wondered if PM Modi was “so scared of offending” Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Is he so scared of offending (Chinese President) Xi Jinping, whom he met 18 times, that India can’t speak for what is right?” he was reported to have tweeted.

India has been outspoken in its criticism of China in recent years due to the latter’s territorial incursions, including by violent means, from occupied Tibet’s borders. But this is the first time it has spoken of the human right situation in the People’s Republic of China.

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