China once again blocked discussion of its human rights record at the UN Commission on Human Rights by using a controversial procedural tactic – the “no action” motion.

The motion prevented a substantive vote on a U.S.-sponsored resolution expressing concern at abuses against Chinese and Tibetans. Twenty-three countries supported China’s “no-action motion,” 17 voted against it, and 12 abstained.

“This vote says less about the horrendous human rights abuses in China and Tibet, and more about world politics and the pressure tactics of China’s hard-line Communist regime,” said Tsering Jampa, Director of ICT Europe. “At stake is the legitimacy and efficacy of the UN’s human rights machinery which desperately needs to be used towards improving the lives of millions of Chinese and Tibetans,” Ms. Jampa said.

The resolution was hobbled by politics within the European Union. The EU refused to co-sponsor the mildly-worded resolution and also prohibited its individual member states from co-sponsoring it. However, in a move that angered and bewildered many in the human rights community, the EU decided to allow individual EU countries to co-sponsor a resolution on human rights violations in Cuba.

“This is a ridiculous double standard which the EU needs to address immediately,” said Tsering Jampa. “The lack of a coherent human rights policy within the EU may further undermine the EU”s ability to help the people of China and Tibet unless they take some corrective measures,” Ms. Jampa said.

“Although China succeeded in blocking the resolution, we applaud the countries and non-governmental organizations who spoke out and worked behind-the-scenes to address problems and solutions to the severe and systematic abuses in Tibet,” said John Ackerly, President of ICT.

The UN Human Rights Commission provides a forum for people all over the world to bring gross human rights abuses by governments to light for public scrutiny. Members of the Commission, which is dominated by governments from the developing world, did pass a resolution condemning abuses in Burma, a pariah nation supported by China.

Countries voting with China were Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Countries voting against were: Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Countries abstaining were Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uruguay. The Democratic Republic of Congo was absent.