China repudiates allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang

23 Juin, 2021, 10:39 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

China has been vehemently refuting allegations of interning millions of Uygurs in mass detention camps, which were officially termed as education camps, in a bid to wean them away from religious extremism.

The US and the European Union besides many other countries have accused China of committing a genocide against the minority Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang and called for an global probe by human rights groups.

"We call on Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations", the Canadian ambassador said which was backed by Britain, France, Germany, Australia, US, Italy among others as the joint statement was read out.

"We urge China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner", Canadian ambassador Leslie Norton said, referring to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

"Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture", it said.

The Canadian-led statement cited reports of torture, forced sterilisation, sexual violence and forced separation of children from their parents.

China denies mistreating the Uighurs, once a clear majority in their ancestral homeland until the state helped waves of ethnic Han Chinese migrate there.

Beijing insists it is simply running vocational training centres created to counter extremism.

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It has now been a year since the adoption of the National Security Law in Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), on which my Office has expressed serious concerns, she said.

Yesterday's statement was bound to further enrage Beijing, which decries what it says is the interference by foreign powers in its internal affairs.

The showdown in the largely virtual council session exposed an ongoing rift between the West and allies of China, which has been increasingly pushing back against the criticism of its human rights record.

"The High Commissioner is advised to stop making erroneous remarks against China, and refrain from interfering in China's sovereignty and judicial independence", Liu said.

The statement "sends a crucial message to China's authorities that they are not above worldwide scrutiny", said Agnes Callamard, head of the rights group Amnesty global.

China's statement about Canada came with the support of Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Iran and Syria, mainly countries with whom Canada's relationship is strained, if there is one at all.

"Historically, Canada robbed the indigenous people of their land, killed them, and eradicated their culture", the statement said.

People visit a makeshift memorial on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc band council encouraged mourners to take part in a national day of prayer to honour the remains of 215 children that were found at the site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada June 6, 2021. He called for a "thorough and impartial investigation" into cases of crimes against Indigenous Peoples and faulted racism and xenophobia in Canada.

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