Updated February 27th, 2021 at 12:39 IST

China defends Sri Lanka's human rights record at UNHRC, cites 'internal affairs'

China's reaction comes in support of Sri Lankan foreign minister who said that allegations on human rights raised by member states are 'politically motivated'

Reported by: Gourav Mishra
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In an expression of extending support to Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council as at least six member states signed a resolution raising concerns over human rights situation in the island country, Beijing on Friday said that 'use of human rights issues to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries is not acceptable.'

The statement by Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry comes after Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena's reaction to a resolution to hold Sri Lanka accountable for their human rights record. He was referring to issues raised by the UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet last month, who had demanded an 'international criminal court probe into Sri Lanka's Tamil separatist conflict, and sanctions against the top generals and others accused of war crimes.

Allegations raised by Bachelet include actions to be taken against violators of rights' during the last phase of the 37-year-old armed conflict in Sri Lanka, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), that ended in 2009. She further alleged that 12 years after the conflict ended, the Sri Lankan government has failed to deliver justice for war victims and promote reconciliation.

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Gunawardena was addressing the 46th regular session of the UNHRC earlier this week where he denied the allegations raised by Bachelet and said that the accusations against Sri Lanka were 'politically motivated'. China's Wenbin addressed a query on Sri Lanka's rights record and was quoted by PTI as saying "We appreciate Sri Lanka's efforts to encourage human rights and economic development, to conserve vulnerable groups and advance national reconciliation, and fight against terrorism."

"We are against applying double standards or utilising the same to interfere in the affairs of the other nations," Wenbin added. He then referred to the UN charter that urges member states to respect a nation's sovereignty and political independence' and demanded that member states mustn't interfere in the internal matters of the island nation.

China is facing global outrage for its alleged 'brutality on Uyghurs, a religious minority settled in the Western province Xinjiang. While last year China got elected in the 47-member UNHRC, the member states along with the UN have repeatedly condemned the way China has treated the Uyghurs, in the "detention centers that it calls re-education camps to correct the Uyghurs".

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However, the Foreign Minister of China Wanh Yi addressed the UNHRC on February 23 and claimed that there are no oppressed classes in China. Reacting to allegations over 'genocide in XinJiang',  Yi added "Genocide, forced labour, and religious oppression was never there in China. These are claims sensationalised and rooted in ignorance, prejudice and are purely slanderous political hype. The UN human rights chief can come to visit the region himself," Yi had said.

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Published February 27th, 2021 at 09:10 IST