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UN report lists litany of rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang


The United Nations released a bombshell report late Wednesday into serious human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, saying torture allegations were credible and citing possible crimes against humanity.

The long-awaited report detailed a string of rights violations against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region, but made no reference to genocide: one of the key allegations made by the United States and other critics.

It said the world must now pay “urgent attention” to the human rights situation in the Xinjiang.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, decided that a full assessment was needed of the situation inside the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Bachelet was determined to release it before her four-year term as the UN high commissioner for human rights expired at the end of August — and did so with 13 minutes to spare at 11:47pm in Geneva.

“The politicisation of these serious human rights issues by some states did not help,” she added.

China has been accused for years of detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslims in the region.

“Serious human rights violations have been committed in XUAR in the context of the government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-‘extremism’ strategies,” the UN report said.

“Allegations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence,” the report said. 

The number in the VETCs, at least between 2017 and 2019, “was very significant, comprising a substantial proportion of the Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minority populations”.

The report said there were “credible indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies”.

China’s mission in Geneva hit out at the report and maintained its firm opposition to its release.

“People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are living a happy life in peace and contentment. It is the greatest human rights protection and the best human rights practice,” the mission insisted.

Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson said the “damning” findings of sweeping rights abuses showed why Beijing “fought tooth and nail” to prevent its publication.

Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnes Callamard said the document “lays bare the scale and severity of the human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang”.

“This is a game-changer for the international response to the Uyghur crisis,” said Uyghur Human Rights Project executive director Omer Kanat.

World Uyghur Congress president Dolkun Isa said the report paved the wat for “meaningful and tangible action” by countries, businesses and the UN, adding: “Accountability starts now.”

Originally published as UN report lists litany of rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang



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