Geneva [Switzerland]: Independent UN experts said on Wednesday that profound concerns over systematic human rights violations and their widespread effect on individuals and minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region cannot, and should not, be ignored by the international community.
UN Human Rights Office in a statement said they repeated a call for the Human Rights Council to convene a special session on China.
In supporting the recently released assessment by the UN Human Rights Office on allegations of abuses in Xinjiang, the experts highlighted the conclusion from the assessment that “the extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities … may constitute international crimes, in particular, crimes against humanity”.
“They also drew attention to the report’s findings of credible allegations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, as well as incidents of sexual and gender-based violence including invasive gynaecological exams, and indications of coercive enforcement of family planning and birth control policies,” the UN Human Rights said.
The experts described the assessment, released on August 31, as comprehensive and principled, adding that it built on and backed the findings and views of multiple Special Procedure mandate holders and Working Groups.
The experts welcomed the attention given in the report to widespread misuse of counter-terrorism and counter-extremism laws, policies and practice.
The experts are particularly concerned that both UN human rights mechanisms in tandem with this assessment demonstrate that “China’s policies and practices have limited the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of religion or belief.”
They said Beijing’s policies have also constrained the “right to family life including reproductive rights for women, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to assemble and associate peacefully, the right to privacy, the right to cultural life, and the right to live free from arbitrary detention, forced labour as well as freedom from any violation of the right to life and from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
They also raised concerns about enforced disappearance in the region as well as the right of religious and ethnic minorities to enjoy their own culture. The experts said they “endorse and support all the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Office and offer their support to facilitate the implementation of these recommendations.”
They called on the Government to invite mandate holders and affirmed their availability to undertake country visits, as well as to provide technical assistance and support to the Government.”
The experts also reiterated recommendations made in their June 2020 joint statement, urging the Human Rights Council to hold a special session to address human rights issues more broadly in China precisely because key issues of concern occurring in other parts of the country are premised on grounds of national security.
According to the experts, the Human Rights Council should urgently consider the creation of a Special Procedures mandate, or a panel of experts to closely monitor, analyse and report annually on the human rights situation in China.
They also said the General Assembly or Secretary-General should consider the creation of a special envoy; and urged the UN Member States and UN agencies and business enterprises to demand that China fulfils its human rights obligations, including during their ongoing dialogues with the Government. (ANI)