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50 countries condemn China’s action against Uyghurs

November 1, 2022

The 50 countries expressed concern over the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang region and urged Beijing to act on the recommendations of a UN report alleging human rights violations against Uyghurs.

File photo taken in May 2021 shows people watching the Chinese national flag being raised at a mosque in Urumqi in China s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
In August, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had released a report on human rights violations in China’s western region of Xinjiang. Image: Kyodo News/IMAGO

Condemning China's "crimes against humanity" in its Xinjiang region, 50 countries signed a statement on Monday and called for ''urgent attention'' from the UN against China's human rights violations against the Uyghurs.

The statement which was signed by mostly Western countries read: "We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in the People's Republic of China, especially the ongoing human rights violations of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang."

The criticism is largely symbolic, after an earlier attempt to force a debate on the issue was voted down at the UN Human Rights Council.

Canada's UN Ambassador Bob Rae read the statement at a meeting of the General Assembly's human rights committee.

In August, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had released a much-awaited report on human rights violations in China's western region of Xinjiang. The findings of the report concluded that under its anti-terrorism and anti-extremism policies, China was committing serious human rights violations.

The countries urged China to fully implement the recommendations of the UN report and to release all those ''arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.''

UN report on Uyghurs in China

The 50 signatories included the United States, Britain, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Israel, Turkey, Guatemala and even Somalia.

China's denial

Beijing denies all allegations of human rights violations. In early October, at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, China avoided a discussion based on the OHCHR report's findings.

Last week, UN ambassadors, Uyghur rights activists and the UN special investigator met to follow up on the former high commissioner's report, however, China expressed its ''resolute opposition'' to the meeting and suggested that they boycott this ''anti-China event.''

In its letter to the UN member states, it also called the meeting a ''politically motivated event'' and ''disinformation propaganda.''

mf/msh (AP, AFP)