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Saturday, July 20th, 2024

Human rights organizations expressed concern over the situation in Xinjiang, demanded accountability

The World Uyghur Congress, along with several other human rights organisations, on Thursday expressed concern over the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Service for Human Rights and the World Uyghur Congress said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk should publicly report on the steps taken by the Chinese government and his/her office to address the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

The human rights organisations also released a series of translations of reports on Xinjiang published by his/her office in 2022.

It emphasised the role and responsibilities of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in addressing these issues, particularly following the release of a landmark report in August 2022. The report concluded that the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity.

Despite international calls for action and ongoing advocacy efforts, including publishing translations of the UN report into multiple languages ​​to raise awareness, there remains a serious lack of concrete follow-up and accountability from both the Office of the High Commissioner and UN Member States.

In the press release, the World Uyghur Congress urges the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide detailed information on efforts to prevent atrocities and ensure accountability, especially as the second anniversary of the report approaches.

It also highlighted ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including arbitrary detentions and suppression of Uighur identity, despite international recommendations and calls for independent investigations. The organisations involved emphasised the need for concrete action, including strong international investigations and accountability mechanisms, to effectively address the ongoing crisis.

“The publication of the U.N. human rights office’s report was a watershed moment in highlighting the severity of human rights violations in Xinjiang,” said Ellen Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“It is now up to the UN High Commissioner for Cities and Climate Change to make full use of that report to improve the situation of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang,” Pearson said.

China’s actions in Xinjiang have sparked global condemnation for their treatment of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have published extensive reports based on victim interviews, satellite imagery analysis, and other evidence documenting human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Key allegations include the arbitrary detention of over one million individuals in “re-education camps” without due process, which has been described as a coercive attempt at ideological control.

Reports by several organizations have detailed allegations of forced labor under exploitative conditions in industries such as cotton and textiles, drawing comparisons to historical forced labor practices and raising concerns about contemporary human rights abuses.

Chinese authorities have been accused of actively suppressing cultural and religious practices among Uyghurs and other minorities, including restrictions on religious activities, the destruction and modification of mosques and cultural sites, and efforts at assimilation by promoting Mandarin Chinese over native languages.

According to Chinese authorities, Uighurs and other minorities face significant constraints on their freedom of movement, including arbitrary travel restrictions and strict residence controls, reinforcing a climate of pressure aimed at maintaining political stability.

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