China has committed serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, the UN says

China has committed serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, the UN says
China has committed serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, the UN says

Geneva – As part of its strategies against terrorism and extremism, China has committed serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, where the Uyghur Muslim minority lives. It states the long-awaited message UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. According to her, the investigators obtained “credible evidence” of torture that could amount to “crimes against humanity”. Beijing has rejected the report, saying the text uses lies and disinformation. UN Secretary-General António Guterres today expressed hope that China will follow the recommendations of the report.

According to diplomats, the high commissioner’s report from her trip to the Chinese region in May had been prepared for publication for a long time. However, her office did so only on Wednesday evening, just a few minutes before the end of Bachelet’s four-year mandate.

According to the report, the Chinese authorities committed serious violations of the rights of members of the Uyghur minority and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang in 2017-2019. The labor camps, which, due to the strict conditions of stay, create a “breeding ground” for discrimination and rights violations are of particular concern. According to the UN report, inclusion in camps or work programs shows signs of religious and ethnic discrimination. The extent of illegal and discriminatory imprisonment of members of the minority could amount to crimes against humanity.

In this context, the UN called on the Chinese authorities to immediately take steps to release “all those who have arbitrarily deprived of their freedom” and to stop intimidation of the Uyghur minority. The report did not say how many people the Chinese government is detaining, but human rights groups say there could be more than a million people in the camps. China denies torturing Uyghurs in the camps and says they are being retrained.

UN chief Guterres urged China to follow the report’s recommendations. The report “confirms what the Secretary-General has been saying about Xinjiang for some time: that human rights should be respected and that the Uighur community should be respected,” Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters today.

China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva criticized the report, saying it is based on presumption of guilt and uses lies and disinformation. Beijing said the report was based mainly on information from anti-Chinese forces and “deliberately omits” Chinese government information. According to Chinese diplomacy, which has refused to publish it, the document is “a farce concocted by some Western countries and anti-China forces”. In Xinjiang, as Beijing claims, there is “social stability, economic development, cultural prosperity and religious harmony” thanks to the government’s strategies. There have been no terrorist attacks there for five years, says v declaration.

The World Uyghur Congress, an international organization of Uyghur exiles seeking to represent the common interests of Uyghurs, welcomed the UN report and called for a swift international response. “This is a major turning point in terms of the international response to the Uyghur crisis,” the BBC quoted one of the organization’s representatives, Omer Kanata, as saying. “Despite strenuous denials by the Chinese government, the UN has now officially acknowledged the horrific crimes that are taking place,” he added.

But the Uyghur community in Turkey expressed disappointment at the news, according to Reuters. According to its representatives, who were contacted by the agency, the message came late and should have been harsher towards Beijing. “China is killing our young people, leaving our children orphaned, so what (the United Nations) is doing now is not enough,” said Mukerrem Abitoglu, one of the roughly 50,000 Uyghurs living in Turkey, the largest Uyghur diaspora outside Central Asia.

In response to the report, the European Commission condemned human rights violations in China. “We are now assessing the content of the report and will issue a response in due course,” said the EC spokesman. “The EU continues to call on China to respect its human rights obligations under national and international law,” he added.

Germany today called on Beijing to immediately “enable all residents of Xinjiang to fully exercise their human rights”, release all detainees and allow an independent investigation. According to the German Foreign Ministry, the report confirms that “there is reason for great concern”.

Bachelet has previously said she faced pressure from both sides – not to release the report and to release it, denying she was too pro-China. “Having a dialogue and trying to understand things better does not mean tolerating issues, turning away from them or turning a blind eye to them,” she said.

According to AFP, the report does not bring new information about the situation in Xinjiang. But it confirms a lot of earlier information from non-governmental organizations, which will thus gain weight and credibility thanks to the “stamp of officialdom” of the UN. The text does not contain the word genocide, which is blamed on China by some Western countries, including the US.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: China committed human rights violations Xinjiang

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