Qatar has pulled out from the 13 countries which have backed China’s human rights record pointing that it is concerned about the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority group going through crackdown in the far western region of the Asian giant, Bloomberg reports.
The tiny Gulf country has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council President Coly Seck that it is withdrawing its support for China, Bloomberg revealed.
Qatar’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Ali Mansouri had signed on July 12, on behalf of Qatar, a letter backing China’s human rights record as Beijing faces criticism over its treatment of around 2 million Uighur minority Muslim ethnic group located in Xinjiang province.
“Taking into account our focus on compromise and mediation, we believe that co-authorizing the aforementioned letter would compromise our foreign policy key priorities,” Ambassador Ali Mansouri wrote to the UN officer on July 18.
“In this regard, we wish to maintain a neutral stance and we offer our mediation and facilitation services.”
Other signatories of the letter include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Russia and several African countries.
13 countries’ endorsement emerged in opposition to a petition by 22 countries which called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to address Beijing’s mass detentions and restrictions on the rights of the minority group.
China has reportedly installed mass surveillance system, from facial recognition technology to security checkpoints at markets. President Xi Jinping has defended the alleged actions on the Uighurs as a need to combat terrorism.
Early this year, Bloomberg reports, activists pressed Doha not to deport Uighur advocate Ablikim Yusuf from Qatar back to China. Yusuf in a video post on social media urged Qatari authorities not to deport him to his home country where he could face detention for advocating for other Uighurs.
China last year ranked as Qatar’s third largest trade partner with a total $13 billion according to the data gathered by Bloomberg.