Three times a year the United Nations reviews fourteen countries’ human rights records on a rotating basis and issues recommendations. Saudi Arabia and China‘s numbers came up this week, in the wake of admitting to the state-sponsored murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and accusations that China is detaining up to 1 million ethnic and religious minorities in so-called education camps. Mexico, which spied on an international commission investigating the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, faced review yesterday.
Any U.N. member state and civil society groups in the reviewed countries can participate in the reviews. The German delegation said in a statement, “We are deeply concerned by the fate of Jamal Khashoggi and we call on Saudi Arabia to provide a detailed and complete response in this regard,” Deutsche Welle reports. Saudi Arabia’s delegation said on Monday that it would pursue a criminal investigation of Khashoggi’s murder.
A “vocal but peaceful” group of protesters waved Uighur flags outside of the China review in Geneva on Tuesday, Al Jazeera reported. Chinese human rights activity Cao Shunli died in custody in 2014 after being detained on her way to China’s last UN human rights review, in which she was a participant. The UN invites civil society groups to contribute material to the reviews but this year fewer Chinese groups have participated, The Guardian reports.
Human Rights Watch said that despite 35,410 people listed on Mexico’s National Register of Missing and Disappeared Persons, the Attorney General’s Office had only opened 369 investigations and failed to obtain a single conviction. Other groups noted that the Mexican government had still not implemented its 2017 law on enforced disappearances.
The reviewed countries have a couple of days to reply before the working group adopts the reports and issues recommendations for future reforms.