China responsible for ‘serious human rights violations’ in Xinjiang province: UN human rights report


The report, published Wednesday in the wake of the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in May, said that “accusations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and unfavorable detention conditions, are credible. , as well as allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.”

In a forcefully worded assessment at the end of the report, OHCHR said the extent of arbitrary detentions against Uyghurs and others, in the context of “restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, is can constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”

‘Rigorous assessment’

The UN rights agency said Wednesday’s report was: “based on a rigorous review of documentary material currently available to the Office, whose credibility has been assessed in accordance with standard human rights methodology.

“Particular attention was paid to the government’s own laws, policies, data and statements. The Agency also requested information and conducted dialogue and technical exchanges with China throughout the process.

The report, published on Ms Bachelet’s last day of her four-year term in office, says the violations occurred in the context of the Chinese government’s claim that it is targeting terrorists among the Uyghur minority with an anti-extremism strategy involving the use of of so-called Vocational Education and Training Centers (VETCs), or re-education camps.

‘Interlocking Patterns’

OHCHR said the government policy of recent years in Xinjiang “led to interlocking patterns of severe and inappropriate restrictions on a wide range of human rights.”

Even if the VETC system, as China puts it, “is reduced in scope or terminated,” OHCHR said, “the laws and policies underpinning it will remain in effect,” leading to an increased use of jail time.

The systems of arbitrary detention and related patterns of abuse since 2017, OHCHR said, “stand against the backdrop of wider discrimination” against Uyghurs and other minorities.

Violations of International Law

“This is inclusive far-reaching, arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, in violation of international laws and standardsincluding restrictions on religious freedom and the right to privacy and movement.

In addition, the report said the Chinese government’s policies in the region are “crossing borders”, tearing families apart, “severing contacts”, and producing “patterns of intimidation and threats” against the wider Uyghur diaspora who spoke out about conditions at home. .

OHCHR said the Chinese government has “the primary duty to” ensure that all laws and policies are aligned with international human rights law and to promptly investigate all allegations of human rights violations, to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable and to provide compensation to victims.”

Report recommendations

One of the recommendations made by the UN Rights Agency in the report is that the government: “quick steps” to release all the randomly captured persons in XUAR, either in camps or any other detention center.

China should inform families of the whereabouts of those detained, provide exact locations and help set up “secure channels of communication” and allow families to reunite, the report said.

The report calls on China to full legal review of national security and counter-terrorism policies in XUAR, “to ensure they fully comply with binding international human rights law” and to repeal any laws that do not meet international standards.

It also calls for a prompt government investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in camps and other detention centers,”including allegations of torture, sexual assault, assault, forced medical treatment, as well as forced labor and reports of deaths in custody.”

Chinese rebuttal

Finally, in a lengthy and detailed response published along with the hard-hitting report, the Chinese government said authorities in the Xinjiang region operate on the principle that everyone is equal before the law, accusing that its policies are based on about discrimination’ is unfounded.”

China said its counter-terrorism and “deradicalization” efforts in the region were conducted in accordance with “rule of law” and in no way add up to “oppression of ethnic minorities”.”

As for the camps, Beijing replied that the VETCs “legally established learning facilities intended for deradicalisation” and not “concentration camps””.

No ‘massive violation of rights’

“The legitimate rights and interests of workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are protected and there is no such thing as ‘forced labour’,” China’s statement said, adding that there has been no “massive violation of rights.”

The statement calls on the international community to “be clear about the truth” of its counter-terrorism campaign in the region, and to “see through the clumsiness and malicious motives of anti-Chinese forces in the US and the West, who seek to exploit Xinjiang.” to contain China.”

Instead, it calls on the UN and other international organizations to: investigate “the human rights disasters caused, and numerous crimes committed, by the US and some other Western countries, both at home and abroad.”

Bachelet’s mission in May

The human rights chief undertook her mission in May at the invitation of the Chinese government and visited XUAR to review the situation there.

During her mission, Ms Bachelet spoke with a range of government officials, various civil society organizations, academics, and community and religious leaders. In addition, prior to the visit, she met several organizations online on issues related to Xinjiang Province, Tibet, Hong Kong and other parts of China.

At the end of her visit, she expressed concern about issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, human rights defenders and labor rights, but praised China’s “enormous achievements” in alleviating poverty and eradicating extreme poverty. years earlier than the target date.

A number of other developments in the country were welcomed by Ms Bachelet, including legislation that improves the protection of women’s rights, and work by NGOs to promote the rights of LGBTI people, people with disabilities and the elderly.

Underlining the important role China should play, at regional and multilateral levels, the UN chief of law noted that everyone she met during her visit, from government officials, civil society, academics, diplomats and others, was genuinely willing to make progress on the promotion and protection of human rights for all.

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