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China, Russia Elected To UN Human Rights Council

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 14 October 2020

FILE PHOTO: Overview of the session of the Human Rights Council during the speech of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2020. Picture taken with a fisheye lens. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse


Saudi Arabia failed to be re-elected.

Political // BLUF: China and Russia have been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, while Saudi Arabia has missed out on a second term.


The picking of council members relies on a secret ballot in geographical groups.


China's human rights record has faced scrutiny recently, with the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region and suspicions of 'concentration camps for re-education', along with the treatment of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.


“Saudi Arabia’s failure to win a seat on the Human Rights Council is a welcome reminder of the need for more competition in U.N. elections. Had there been additional candidates, China, Cuba and Russia might have lost too,” said Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau.


The U.S. left the council in 2018, with current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying, “The U.N. General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records,” and, “These elections only further validate the U.S. decision to withdraw and use other venues and opportunities to protect and promote universal human rights.”


(See Point 3 Below for Further Information)


The Daily Quick-Look for 14 October 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.


1. UNITED STATES, TAIWAN - Security: White House advances drone and missile sales to Taiwan

FYSA: The White House is moving forward with more sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan, telling Congress on Tuesday that it will seek to sell MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system, five sources familiar with the situation said. These possible sales follow three other notifications first reported by Reuters on Monday that drew China’s ire in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election. China considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary. Reuters broke the news in September that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China. The pre-notification to Congress for the MQ-9 drone case is the first after President Donald Trump’s administration moved ahead with its plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Tuesday’s other congressional pre-notification was for land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, made by Boeing Co, to serve as a coastal defense against cruise missiles.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process before the State Department sends its formal notification to the legislative branch. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)


2. MALI - Security: Dozens killed in spate of attacks in central Mali

FYSA: Suspected Islamist militants killed 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing troops sent as reinforcements, the army and local authorities said on Tuesday. The attacks were the deadliest since the Aug. 18 military coup that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and came just days after scores of jailed militants were freed by the interim government in a prisoner swap. Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack that took place overnight against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, an army statement said. At around 8:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Tuesday, another three soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the scene of the first attack, it said. Nine militants were killed in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two of their vehicles destroyed by the air force. In a third assault about 40 minutes later near the town of Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and one soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of nearby Bankass, to which the traders were en route. A witness said he saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres. "They (jihadists) took all the vehicles and burned those they could not take away. The camp is burned," said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. A transitional government has been appointed since the military coup. But regional and international powers fear the violence could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a French-directed military campaign against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region. (France 24. See link in heading for further reading)

3. CHINA, RUSSIA - Political, Security: China, Russia elected to U.N. rights council; Saudi Arabia fails

FYSA: China and Russia were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, but support for Beijing dropped by more than 20 percent compared with a 2016 vote and Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to win a seat on the Geneva-based body. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly also elected Ivory Coast, Gabon, Malawi, Cuba, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, France and Britain to the 47-member council. Senegal, Nepal, Pakistan, Ukraine and Mexico were re-elected for a second three-year term. Council members cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. Candidates are elected by secret ballot in geographical groups to ensure even representation. The Asia-Pacific group, which included Saudi Arabia, was the only competitive race on Tuesday with five candidates vying for four seats. The new members will begin their term on Jan. 1, 2021. “Saudi Arabia’s failure to win a seat on the Human Rights Council is a welcome reminder of the need for more competition in U.N. elections. Had there been additional candidates, China, Cuba and Russia might have lost too,” said Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau. Saudi Arabia received 152 votes when it was last elected in 2016 to be a council member from 2017 to 2019, but on Tuesday only 90 states voted for Riyadh - a 40 percent drop. While China was elected on Tuesday with 139 votes, its support fell more than 20 percent compared to the last time it won a seat in 2016. Both countries have been criticized internationally for their human rights records. Most recently China has been condemned by Western countries for its treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region and handling of pro-democracy protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)



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