Long-delayed report from UN Human Rights Council says human rights abuses against mostly Muslim Uighurs stem from ‘anti-terrorism law systems’.
China’s detention of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang may amount to “crimes against humanity”, the United Nations Human Rights Council said in a long-delayed report that was finally published late on Wednesday.
The 45-page report (PDF) called on Beijing to immediately release “all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty”, clarify the whereabouts of those whose families have been unable to locate them and undertake a “full review” of its laws on domestic security and repeal all discriminatory laws.
The UN revealed in 2018 that some one million people were being held in a network of detention centers across Xinjiang, and UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for “unfettered” access to visit the region and assess the situation.
Bachelet, whose term came to an end on Wednesday minutes after the report was published, was finally allowed into China in May. Following the tightly-choreographed visitwhich drew criticism from human rights groups and other experts, she announced she would not seek a second term.
“Serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang “in the context of the Government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-“extremism” strategies,” the report said.
“The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups … may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
Beijing at first denied the camps’ existence but later said they were vocational skills training centers necessary to address “extremism”.