UN: Uyghur detentions may constitute crimes against humanity


FILE – Police officers stand at the outer entrance of the Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Urumqi No. 3, China’s largest detention center, is twice the size of Vatican City and has room for at least 10,000 inmates.The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says it has compiled evidence of increasing government repression against Uyghur Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

(NewsNation) — The UN Human Rights Office released their long-awaited analysis of allegations of human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, or XUAR, on Wednesday, saying it raises concerns from the perspective of international criminal law.

According to the report, China’s detention of Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim communities in Xinjiang has allegedly deprived the groups of their fundamental rights and may constitute international crimes, particularly crimes against humanity.

The final assessment says numerous reports and victim accounts detailed alleged detention in camps, claims of torture, sexual violence, forced labor, separation of families and other ill-treatment.

“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 states.

According to the UN’s report, there is an urgent need for an international response.

“As the conditions remain in place for serious violations to continue and recur, these must also be addressed promptly and effectively. The human rights situation in XUAR also requires urgent attention by the Government, the United Nations intergovernmental bodies and human rights system, as well as the international community more broadly,” the report states.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights started receiving allegations from various civil society groups in 2017 that members of the Uyghur and other predominately Muslim communities were missing or had disappeared in the Xinjiang Uyghur region.

In 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination became alarmed over several reports of large numbers of Uyghurs and Muslim minorities being detained under the pretext of countering religious extremism.

According to the UN’s assessment shared Wednesday, the reported human rights violations stem from a domestic “anti-terrorism law system” in China that the organization calls “deeply problematic” from a human rights standpoint and shows a pattern of discrimination that impacts the Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim communities.

“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 report states. “The implementation of these strategies, and associated policies in XUAR has led to interlocking patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights.”

The UN believes allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang must be investigated, perpetrators held accountable and compensation provided to victims.

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