UN experts call for action on findings of Uyghur abuse in China

Geneva, Sep 8 (IANS) A collection of human rights officials said the international community must not ignore the systematic abuses allegedly perpetrated against Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and repeated a call for the U.N. Human Rights Council to review the charges, RFA reported.
The more than 40 experts, comprising U.N. special rapporteurs, independent experts and members of working groups under the U.N. Human Rights Council, issued their call in response to a damning report issued on August 31 by former U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, finding that China’s repression of the predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
Bachelet, who travelled to Xinjiang in May, issued the overdue report on rights abuses in the region on the day she concluded her four-year mandate as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The report states that “serious human rights violations” have been committed in Xinjiang in the context of the Chinese government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-‘extremism’ policies and practices.
China’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. Office at Geneva dismissed the report, saying it ignored the human rights achievements by people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and the damage caused by terrorism and extremism to the human rights of all ethnic groups there.
But the U.N. experts supported the report’s conclusions on abuses in Xinjiang, highlighting the finding that “the extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” according to a news release issued by U.N. Human Rights Special Procedures in Geneva, RFA reported.
The experts also drew attention to the report’s finding of “credible allegations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, as well as incidents of sexual and gender-based violence including invasive gynecological exams, and indications of coercive enforcement of family planning and birth control policies,” the news release said.
The experts, who have mandates to report and advise on human rights issues, also repeated a call from June 2020 for the Human Rights Council to convene a special session on China to address allegations of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and restrictions on movement, freedom of religion and freedom of expression on the premise of national security.
The Human Rights Council should consider establishing a panel of experts to closely monitor, analyse and report annually on the human rights situation in China, the group of U.N. experts said. They also recommended that the U.N. General Assembly or secretary-general consider the creation of a special envoy, RFA reported.

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