China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cuba and Pakistan are tipped to finish top of Tuesday’s election for seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council, prompting disbelief from freedom campaigners and exiled dissidents alike.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group, said allowing these countries anywhere near the council “is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade.”
Saudi Arabia was previously on the council until 2019. Just last month, dozens of nations condemned it before the council over serious rights violations and demanded accountability for the murder Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post newspaper columnist who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
China, which is under fire over its treatment of ethnic Uyghurs in the far western region of Xinjiang and its imposition of a National Security Law in Hong Kong, is already preparing to take its seat.
This is in defiance of a coalition of 70 Uyghur