Western countries and Japan call on China to stop detention of Uyghurs

Xinjiang: China’s Muslim minorities | DW Documentary

For the first time in history, Western countries sent a collective appeal to the UN Human Rights Council in connection with the situation in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

Nearly two dozen countries have called on China to end the mass detentions of ethnic Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the west of the country. The appeal is contained in a collective appeal sent to the UN Human Rights Council, reports "Reuters" citing several diplomats.

According to UN experts and activists, there are now at least a million Uyghurs and Muslims in detention centers in this remote region of western China. Chinese authorities say detainees are held in “training centers” for the eradication of extremism, where they are allegedly trained in new skills and professions.

An unprecedented letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council, a copy of which was made available "Reuters", signed by permanent representatives of 22 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan and a number of European states. US withdrew from UN HRC last year.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, PRC

Despite the demands of human rights activists and defenders, the letter is not an official statement read out publicly at Council meetings. This is due to concerns about a possible political or economic reaction from China, diplomats say. “This is the first collective response about Xinjiang … The idea of ​​a resolution was not considered,” he said in an interview. "Reuters" western diplomat.

Another diplomat added: “This is an official step as [text] will be published as an official document of the Council … This is a signal.”.

The authors of the letter express concern about the illegal detention of people in “large-scale detention facilities, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, especially concerning Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.” Western countries called on China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom … in Xinjiang and throughout China.”.

The authors also called on the Chinese authorities to allow international independent experts access to Xinjiang.

Western countries and Japan call on China to stop detention of Uyghurs

Uyghurs in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, PRC

Diplomats say none of the Western delegations have taken the liberty of spearheading an initiative to defend Uyghur rights. Chinese delegation, according to interlocutors "Reuters", “Extremely annoyed” in connection with the appeal and is now preparing her own letter, said one of the diplomats.

At the start of the three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council, which ends on Friday, the vice governor of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region responded to accusations of detention of Uyghurs, saying that the alleged detention centers are actually training centers where residents of the region are helped to get rid of. from “extremist influence”. According to Vice Governor Erkin Tuniyaz, in this way the Chinese authorities were able to successfully combat terrorism and religious extremism in Xinjiang. This statement was met with criticism from the United States..

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