UN chief Guterres urges Beijing to heed Xinjiang report recommendations

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged China to follow recommendations set out in a new report into alleged abuses in Xinjiang province.

The report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, “confirms what the Secretary-General has been saying for some time about Xinjiang, that human rights must be respected and that the community Uighur must be respected,” Guterres said. spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General strongly hopes that the Chinese government will take into account the recommendations put forward in the assessment.”

Released late Wednesday, the 48-page report finds China has committed serious human rights abuses in its counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policies and calls for “urgent attention” from the UN, global community and China to fix it.

The report recommends that Beijing take “swift action to release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty” in the region.

It also recommends that the Chinese government “urgently repeal all…laws, policies and practices” that discriminate against Uyghurs.

Beijing quickly denounced the report.

Its diplomatic mission in Geneva said it strongly opposed the publication of the UN assessment, which it said ignored human rights achievements in Xinjiang and the damage caused by the terrorism and extremism to the population.

“Based on the disinformation and lies fabricated by anti-China forces and the presumption of guilt, the so-called ‘assessment’ distorts Chinese laws, wantonly defames and slanders China, and interferes in business interior of China,” the mission said.

He also shared a 121-page document from the Xinjiang provincial government that detailed policies in the region.

“People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang live a happy life in peace and contentment. This is the best protection of human rights and the best practice in human rights,” the mission said.

China’s UN ambassador in New York also called the accusations a “completely fabricated politically motivated lie” and denounced the report.

But US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the report confirmed the “atrocities and human rights abuses” China is “committing against Uyghurs” and other minorities in Xinjiang.

Ms Bachelet had made it clear that she planned to release the report, which has been in the works for more than a year, before her term ends on Wednesday.

She said her report had taken “considerable work and consideration” and that she wanted to address the Chinese government’s comments last week in the spirit of constructive dialogue.

The assessment was drawn in part from interviews with former detainees and others familiar with conditions at eight alleged detention centers.

Unlike other reports by researchers and national governments, the assessment had no estimate of scale and the rights office said it could not confirm claims that a million or more people were detained in Xinjiang.

But he said it was “reasonable to conclude that a pattern of large-scale arbitrary detention occurred” at least between 2017 and 2019.

Beijing has closed many camps, officially called vocational education and training centers, but reports point to hundreds of thousands of people in continued detention.

Updated: 02 September 2022, 02:36

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