UN to China: Release Uighurs from re-education facilities

by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2018

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Aug. 30 called on China to immediately release Muslim Uighurs from alleged re-education camps.

Ethnic Uighurs and Chinese soldiers in Xinjiang. / picture-alliance / Kyodo

The committee cited estimates that up to one million Uighurs are being detained on the “pretext of countering terrorism” in re-education centers in China’s far western Xinjiang province, Reuters reported.

“We are recommending to China if this practice exists, to halt it. We are asking China to release people if they don’t have a legal ground to be detained,” committee member Nicolas Marugan told Reuters Television.

China has never officially confirmed the existence of the detention centers.

Related: China’s re-education camps for millions: A look at the evidence, August 28, 2018

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the UN committee’s allegations had “no factual basis,” adding that satisfaction with Xinjiang’s security and stability had risen dramatically.

“As for certain counterterrorism and stability maintenance preventive measures, I think that internationally this is in general use by lots of countries,” Hua said.

The UN committee said it was alarmed by “Numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.”

The committee reported that it regretted there was no official data on those detained “for even non-threatening expressions of Muslim ethno-religious culture like daily greetings.”

The committee said it had received many credible reports that up to one million Uighurs are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.” Panel member Gay McDougall described it as a “no-rights zone.”

A group of U.S. lawmakers urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for rights abuses of Muslims in Xinjiang, saying the region was being turned into a “high-tech police state.”

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