Journalist breaks down while explaining the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in China

09 Novembre, 2018, 09:32 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • April 2018 Protesters in Brussels call on the European Union to raise the issue of human rights in China's Xinjiang region

Advocacy groups including Human Rights Watch want the Human Rights Council to press Chinese authorities on issues like use of mass detention centers in the western Xinjiang region where many Uighurs live.

A United Nations panel of human rights experts said on August 10 it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China were being held in what resembles a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy".

The so-called Universal Periodic Review - which all 193 United Nations countries must undergo approximately every four years - will start with China presenting a report on its rights situation and changes made since it was last in the spotlight in 2013.

Britain has asked when China will implement recommendations from a United Nations racial discrimination panel that it "halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried and convicted for a criminal offense in any extra-legal detention facilities".

Beijing should "halt massive imprisonment" and "guarantee freedom of religion and belief, including in Tibet and Xinjiang", French Ambassador Francois Rivasseau said.

As representatives from the United Stated, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and several other countries have called on China to close the internment camps where more than one million ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs are now unlawfully held in detention.

Beijing says its "vocational training centers" in Xinjiang camps teach employment skills and legal knowledge aimed at curbing religious extremism.

"The Chinese government owes some answers to global questions about Xinjiang", Maya Wang, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

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The UN human rights review is a chance for countries to "focus their firepower on Xinjiang", although its effectiveness will depend on "whether or not there is commitment from the states to push for accountability", she added.

The country's foreign minister, Le Yucheng, has further stated, "No country shall dictate the definition of democracy and human rights", and "We will not accept the politically driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases, with total disregard for facts". Officials from Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau will also attend the review.

"China opposes human rights politicization and 'double standards, ' and upholds global fairness and justice", China said in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for the review.

"China is willing to conduct a constructive dialogue with all parties in a spirit of open and honest", has declared on Friday to journalists a spokesman of the chinese ministry of foreign Affairs, Lu Kang.

Beyond Xinjiang, China will also come under scrutiny for other aspects of its human rights record, including a dramatic crackdown on civil liberties and religious freedoms since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. In July 2017, the dissident and Nobel Peace prize victor Liu Xiaobo died in jail of liver cancer.

In 2015, more than 200 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists were detained or questioned in a sweep known as the "709" crackdown.

Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, told Reuters at the event: "The detention of over a million ethnic Uighurs is a tipping point for the worldwide community".

According to Le, China's approach to human rights development with Chinese characteristics and its point of view such as "no security, no human rights,"development is a primary human right,"poverty reduction helps human rights promotion" and "cooperation for human rights", have aroused strong resonance and wide recognition during the review".

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