Human Right Defender Hillel Neuer tore into China at the United Nations Human Right Councils (UNHRC) for its massive human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province and slammed countries who backed Beijing by turning a blind eye towards mass killings of minorities.
Speaking during the session, Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, a human rights NGO, questioned why China that has herded 1 million Muslim Uighurs into mass detention camps, was appointed as a part of five-member UNHRC panel that nominates the Council's next investigators on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
"United Nations Committee for the elimination of racial discrimination has found credible reports of China's mass detention of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, with an estimated 1 million members of this Muslim minority herded into so-called re-education camps," Neuer said.
"The committee found that China's restricting the Uighur's cultural and religious practices and disproportionately targeting them with mass surveillance, arbitrary detention in forced disappearances and other human rights violations and abuses. And so we asked first, by what logic should a representative of this country be part of the five-member panel that just nominated this Council's next investigators on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances to be appointed in this session?" he asked.
Expressing discontent over countries who signed a letter backing China over the Uighur issue, Neuer further asked whether these countries do not care about human rights and Muslims.
"In my hands is a document of this council HRC-41-g- 17 submitted under agenda item three by 50UNHRC ambassadors. And this document actually praises China for its treatment to the Uighurs saying that people there enjoy, a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security. The letter is signed by Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and the State of Palestine. Don't they care about Muslims? Don't they care about human rights? How could they do this?" he questioned at the UNHRC session.
Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
About 7 per cent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, has been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
Classified documents known as the China Cables, accessed last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, threw light on how the Chinese government uses technology to control Uighurs worldwide.
China put a million or more Uighurs and other Muslim minorities into detention camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the last three years under President Xi Jinping's directives to "show absolutely no mercy" in the struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism", revealed the leaked documents released in US media.
However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.
Uighur activists and human rights groups have countered that many of those held are people with advanced degrees and business owners who are influential in their communities and have no need for any special education.
People in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.
Now, as Beijing denies these accounts, it also refuses to allow independent inspections into the regions, at the same time, which further fuels reports related to China's atrocities on the minority Muslims.
( With inputs from ANI )
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