World: 37 countries defend China over Xinjiang in UN letter - PressFrom - US
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World37 countries defend China over Xinjiang in UN letter

21:09  12 july  2019
21:09  12 july  2019 Source:   msn.com

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37 countries defend China over Xinjiang in UN letter© Greg Baker UN ambassadors from 37 countries have released a letter defending China's treatment of Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region, in direct response to Western criticism This photo taken on June 4, 2019 shows a Uighur woman pushing an electric bicycle in a crowded street in Kashgar, and more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in internment camps that Beijing describes as "vocational education centres" aimed at steering people away from religious extremism

UN ambassadors from 37 countries released a letter Friday defending China's treatment of Uighur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region, in direct response to Western criticism earlier this week.

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GENEVA — A group of 22 countries has issued a statement urging China to stop the mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in its western Xinjiang region, the first concerted international challenge to a policy China has vigorously defended at the United Nations .

More than 20 countries at the UN Human Rights Council have signed a joint letter criticising China 's treatment of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said the statement put pressure on China to stop "its horrific treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang ."

Envoys from across the EU -- along with Australia, Canada and Japan and New Zealand -- had earlier co-signed a text denouncing China's conduct in Xinjiang, where one million people, mostly ethnic Uighurs, are reportedly being held in internment camps.

On Friday a diverse group of states -- including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and North Korea -- replied on Beijing's behalf.

"We commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights," said the letter, also signed by Myanmar, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and others.

"We take note that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," it said.

Western UN envoys condemn China's Muslim 're-education' camps

Western UN envoys condemn China's Muslim 're-education' camps China is reportedly holding up to 1 million Uighurs in internment camps, described as "concentration camps" by rights groups. Diplomats rarely send open letters to the UN Human Rights Council to slam a country's record.

United Nations member countries should press China about mass detention in Xinjiang and other serious rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said today. The “interactive dialogue” portion of China ’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), during which countries

China ’s Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. We also call on China to refrain from the arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of movement of Uighurs, and other Muslim and minority communities in Xinjiang ,” read the letter by mainly Western countries .

Rights groups and former inmates describe the internment sites in Xinjiang as "concentration camps" where mainly Muslim Uighurs and other minorities are being forcefully assimilated into China's majority ethnic Han society.

Echoing China's defence of the camps, Friday's letter described them as "vocational education and training centres."

"Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang," it said.

The group of ambassadors asked for the letter to be recorded as an official document of the Human Rights Council, which wrapped up its 41st session in Geneva on Friday.

The Western diplomats had made the same request.

Beijing on Thursday dismissed the Western letter as "slander."

The tit-for-tat open letters is rare at the UN's top rights body, where states typically try to hammer out formal resolutions during closed-door negotiations.

After initially denying their existence, Beijing has gone on a public relations blitz in a bid to counter the global outcry against what it calls "vocational education centres" in Xinjiang.

Since last October, the local government has also organised tours of the camps for diplomats and media outlets.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has requested a fact-finding mission to Xinjiang.

Beijing has said she is welcome, but the rights office has stressed that a visit will be only possible on certain conditions -- including unfettered access to key sites.

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