- Photo: (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)
Human rights groups are calling China's election to the United Nations' Human Rights Council a "travesty," pointing out the country's very troublesome record on the issue.
"The Chinese government does not promote or protect human rights, even of its own citizens. To the contrary, the Chinese Communist Party is a brutal, totalitarian regime - one of the greatest human rights violators in the world. How can it then be a watchdog over human rights in other nations?" asked Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, in a statement.
"This is like the proverbial fox guarding the chicken coup or the wolf guarding the sheep. Rather, China will likely turn a blind eye to serious human rights abuses in other nations, to discourage other nations from challenging it on its own abysmal human rights record. China has no business on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Its presence damages the credibility of the Council," Littlejohn added, whose group raises awareness and fights against sexual slavery and forced abortion in China.
Tuesday's vote at the UN elected China along with Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and others to the top rights body, which means that they will be on the council from 2014 to 2016, according to Reuters.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power criticized the vote, however, pointing out that some of the elected countries include those who "commit significant violations of the rights the council is designed to advance and protect."
Peggy Hicks of Human Rights Watch added that "with the return of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba, human rights defenders will have their work cut out for them at the Human Rights Council next year."
Littlejohn brought up the example of China's One Child Policy as an example where human rights are violated in the world's most populous country.
"China is the only government that forcibly aborts women, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. It also practices forced sterilization and coercive birth control. China's coercive low birth limit has led to gendercide, the widespread systematic elimination of baby girls," Littlejohn continued, adding that this gender imbalance results in sexual slavery.
"Instead of returning China to a seat at the table, the U.N. Human Rights Council should be taking action against China for being one of the most massive violators of human rights in the world."
Back in June, both Russia and China found themselves ranked among the worst offenders in the world in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, released by the U.S. Department of State.
While Russian and Chinese officials protested against the designation, arguing that the report was unfair and not well researched, Secretary of State John Kerry explained that it helps fight against human trafficking crimes.
The profile on China reported that the country remains a "significant source of girls and women subjected to forced prostitution throughout the world," while labor trafficking was noted as the biggest issue in Russia.
"The Migration Research Center estimates that one million people in Russia are exposed to 'exploitative' labor conditions characteristic of trafficking cases, such as withholding of documents, nonpayment for services, physical abuse, or extremely poor living conditions," the Department of State report said.