NewsUN warns of China's possible 'crimes against humanity' in...

UN warns of China's possible 'crimes against humanity' in Xiangjiang

GENEVA, Switzerland – The UN published a devastating report late on Wednesday on serious human rights abuses in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, in which it warned of possible “crimes against humanity” and credible allegations of torture.

The document was released in Geneva at 11:47 p.m. (5:47 p.m. Mexico City time) on Wednesday, 13 minutes before the end of the four-year term of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as UN High Commissioner. for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Bachelet was determined to release the report despite intense pressure from Beijing.

“The extent of the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim groups (…) may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” the report states in its conclusions.

It warns that “serious human rights abuses have been committed in XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) in the context of the implementation of government counter-terrorism and counter-extremism strategies.”

It cites in particular concern about the treatment of people detained in China’s so-called “Vocational Education and Training Centers” (VETC).

“Reports of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse detention conditions, are credible, as are reports of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence,” the report states.

The UN human rights body did not specify how many people were affected by the VETC but noted that the system operated on a “large scale” throughout the region.

persecuted minorities

Bachelet, twice president of Chile, said in an email to AFP that “I said I would publish it before the end of my term and I did.”

“The issues are serious and I discussed them with high national and regional authorities” in China, he said.

Bachelet insisted that the dialogue with Beijing did not mean “approving, ignoring or turning a blind eye” to the events in Xinjiang.

China has been accused for years of detaining more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the remote western region of Xinjiang.

Activists have singled out China for numerous abuses that Beijing has vehemently refuted, insisting they are vocational training centers in Xinjiang to counter extremism.

The report urges Beijing, the UN and the world to pay attention to the described situation in Xinjiang.

“The human rights situation in XUAR also requires urgent attention from the government, UN intergovernmental bodies and the human rights system, as well as the international community in general,” it adds.

But the 49-page document makes no reference to genocide, one of the main denunciations of critics of Beijing, including Washington.

“Misinformation and lies”

The Chinese mission in Geneva lambasted the report and defended its refusal to release it.

“Based on disinformation and lies fabricated by anti-China forces and by presumption of guilt, the so-called ‘assessment’ distorts China’s laws and policies, wantonly slanders and slanders China, and interferes in China’s internal affairs,” the mission claimed. .

“People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang lead a happy life in peace and contentment. It is the highest protection of rights and the best practice of human rights,” he insisted.

Non-governmental organizations and activists stated that the report should serve as a platform for future action in the region.

Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson said the “damning” findings of widespread human rights abuses show why Beijing “fought tooth and nail” to prevent publication.

He said the UN human rights body should investigate China’s alleged crimes against humanity and “hold those responsible to account.”

For her part, the secretary general of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, pointed out that the document “exposes the scale and severity of the human rights abuses that occur in Xinjiang.”

He urged China to “immediately release all individuals” arbitrarily detained in camps, “end the persecution” of minorities and allow investigators free entry.

“This changes the international response to the Uighur crisis,” said the executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, Omer Kanat.

“Despite strong denials from the Chinese government, the UN has now officially acknowledged that horrific crimes are taking place,” he added.

The president of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa, considered that the report paves the way for “significant and tangible action” by countries, companies and the UN. “Accountability begins now.”

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