Ambassadors condemn China's treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang region

13 Juillet, 2019, 08:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Demonstrators in New York hold placards during the rally to support the Uighur community in China

Ambassadors of more than 20 countries have called on China to end its mass detention of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

The Chinese side has lodged solemn representations with the countries, Geng said, urging the relevant countries to respect the facts, abandon prejudice, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and stop politicizing human rights issues and using the issue of Xinjiang to interfere in China's internal affairs.

The letter to the forum's president, dated 8 July, cited China's obligations as a member of the 47-state forum to maintain the highest standards. The signatories include 18 European Union countries, as well as Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

In the letter, posted on the Human Rights Watch website, the countries say there are "credible reports" of arbitrary detention and widespread surveillance.

Chinese diplomat Jiang Duan told the council on Thursday a few hypocritical Western nations were distorting facts to smear Beijing over what it describes as vocational training centers in Xinjiang meant to combat extremism and provide new skills. This was due to governments' fears of a potential political and economic backlash from China, diplomats said.

A group of 22 countries have urged China to allow independent observers to access and investigate suspected grave human rights violations in Xinjiang.

"We call also on China to refrain from the arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of movement of Uighurs, and other Muslim and minority communities in Xinjiang", it added.

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At the internment camps, prisoners face a plethora of human rights abuses, including torture, extrajudicial incarceration, and unlawful killing by the government.

Hundreds of people have been killed there in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang. "The joint statement demonstrates that Beijing is wrong to think it can escape global scrutiny for its abuses in Xinjiang, and the pressure will only increase until these appalling abuses end".

Beijing has said the centers are necessary to steer people away from religious extremism, terrorism, and separatism. This is the Chinese regime's stated rationale for rounding up Uyghurs in the camps.

Beijing was also forced on Thursday to defend its human rights record from criticism by Slovakia and Britain.

In March, Pompeo met with a Uyghur survivor of the camps, and three other Uyghurs whose relatives have either been detained at the camps or criminally sentenced in China.

The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan is in Beijing for a previously scheduled meeting, an American Embassy spokesman said Thursday, as indications grew of a new momentum in efforts to end Afghanistan's 18-year war and push by China to boost its influence in the region.

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