BEIJING: China will be grilled over its mass detainment of Uighur minorities during a UN human rights review on Tuesday, with Washington leading demands for Beijing to come clean on how many people are held in a sprawling network of camps, reports AFP.
As many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being kept in extra-judicial detention in China’s fractious far western Xinjiang region, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.The centres where they are thought to be detained have come under increasing scrutiny this year, with rights activists describing them as political re-education camps. They say members of China’s Muslim minorities are held involuntarily for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils.
“The Human Rights Council must send an unequivocal message to the Chinese government that their campaign of systematic repression in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, including the arbitrary detention of up to one million people, must end,” said Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International.
All 193 United Nations member states must undergo a periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
China will present a report on its domestic human rights situation and on changes made since its last report in 2013, while diplomats from around the world will have the opportunity to ask questions—some of which have already been submitted.
One question by the US—which is leading demands for Beijing to come clean on the crackdown—says: “Can China clarify the basis for its apparent criminalization of peaceful religious practices as justification to detain people in these political ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, as well as which officials are responsible for this policy?”