Britain must oppose giving China a seat on the UN’s human rights body this week in protest at its abuse of Uighur Muslims, Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary has warned.
With the government facing accusations of confusion over its relationship with Beijing, Nandy will join other organisations in calling for Britain not to support China’s place on the council until the UN is allowed to conduct an independent investigation into its treatment of the Uighurs.
In a letter to foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Nandy cites UN guidance that countries should “take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights” when voting for membership of the human rights council.
“Labour is calling on the government to oppose China’s election to the UN human rights council … until such time as access is granted – and make clear to the world the reasons for doing so,” she writes. “In the current circumstances, China cannot be regarded as meeting the required standards.”
She asserts that the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang is “prima facie, a crime against humanity” and also “appear to share features of genocide within the meaning of the 1948 convention”. She continues: “You know, as well as anyone, that international law matters and that silence in the face of such horrors will be seen by some as complicity. The UK must take this opportunity to show solidarity with the Uighur people and demonstrate that we can still be trusted to defend human rights around the world.”