Following its abstainment on a Western-led vote on October 6 in the United Nations Human Rights Commission - which failed to pass due to intense lobbying by Beijing - seeking to condemn China's human rights abuses against its Uighur minority in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, India on Friday called for the human rights of the people of the region to be “respected and guaranteed,” without specifically naming Uighurs.
Citing India's long-held views regarding the 'right to sovereignty' vis-a-vis the Western idea of 'mandate to protect,' the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday noted that while “country-specific resolutions are never helpful,” India also hoped that “the human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region be respected and guaranteed.”
“We hope that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
For its part, the Chinese Ministry said that it had made note of both India's absentation on the vote and the statement issued by the MEA.
“I want to stress that the issues related to Xinjiang are not related to human rights and are about countering violent terrorism, radicalisation, and separatism,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.
“Thanks to strenuous efforts, there was no violent terrorist incident in Xinjiang for over five consecutive years.”
Mao went on to point out that the results of the vote - which failed to pass - indicated a vindication of Beijing's position on the matter of Xinjiang.
“The voting results at the UNHRC reflect the position of the international community, especially of developing countries, in firmly rejecting the politicisation of the human rights issues,” she said.
The reason why India has refrained from condemning China over Xinjiang is relatively straightforward: India has faced its own problems with separatist issues in the past, and continues to face them in the Kashmir Valley today.
Thus, any moves by India to support the international censure of China over Xinjiang would undermine New Delhi's own position on Kashmir, which India has repeatedly stated is an integral part of the country.
Further, while New Delhi has stopped short - well short - of the draconian measures Beijing has taken against Uighurs, its own human rights record in Kashmir is far from spotless.
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