UN: China close detention centers in Xinjiang

More than 20 countries of the Human Rights Council have signed a joint document, devoid of any obligation for Beijing.  Over one million Muslims detained in the Chinese province.  The UN calls for free access to the camps and respect for human rights.



Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 20 countries of the UN Human Rights Council have signed a document asking China to end the mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang detention centers.  The joint letter, without implementation constraints, also asks Beijing to allow free access to UN and other international agencies' inspectors.

The document was signed on 8 July and released yesterday.  The signatories include 18 EU countries, as well as Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.  The letter supports criticisms against "large-scale, widespread surveillance and restrictions implemented in particular against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang".

The Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living in Xinjiang, have been demanding greater political and economic autonomy for decades, but Beijing accuses them of separatism and terrorism, justifying a harsh policy of military control.  A BBC study has revealed that hundreds of children have been separated from their parents in an attempt to remove their ethnic-religious roots.

The UN has repeatedly asked to visit Xinjiang to verify abuses against the Uyghurs.  China is accused of having detained at least one million people, subjected to brainwashing to weaken their attachment to the Islamic faith, considered a "radicalization" against their will.  Despite the testimony of many survivors, Beijing has always maintained that the camps are only "vocational training centers".

While many Muslim countries remain silent in the face of the persecutions implemented in the camps, the countries that signed the UN document declare: "We ask China to apply national laws and international obligations and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms,  including freedom of religion or belief in Xinjiang and throughout the country. "