UN Passes Long Awaited Report on Uyghur “Serious Human Rights Abuse”

In a historic report on alleged mistreatment in the province of Xinjiang, the UN charged China with “serious human rights abuses.”

According to the report by outgoing UN human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet, researchers looking into allegations of abuse against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities have found “credible evidence” of torture that may constitute “crimes against humanity.”

Just 11 minutes before Wednesday’s midnight, when her four-year stint as president came to an end, the findings were made public.

China has appealed with the UN to withhold the report, labelling it a “farce staged by Western countries.” and  China disputes allegations of abuse against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Location of one of a Uyghur detention concentration camp in the province of Xinjiang

However investigators said they found “credible evidence” of torture possibly amounting to “crimes against humanity”.

Human rights organisations have been warning about the situation in the north-western province for years, claiming that over a million Uyghurs have been imprisoned against their will in a vast network of facilities the government refers to as “re-education camps.”
The assertions, as well as charges of rape, torture, and forced sterilisation, appear to be supported by reports of police files detailing people in captivity.

China has consistently vehemently denied all wrongdoing.

The report also alleges “incidents of sexual and gender-based violence,” prisoners in state-sponsored internment camps are allegedly subjected to “patterns of torture or ill-treatment.” According to the report, some have been subjected to forced medical care and “selective implementation of family planning and birth control regulations.”

This photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows a facility believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in Artux, north of Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region. – While Muslims around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan with early morning prayers and festivities this week, the recent destruction of dozens of mosques in Xinjiang highlights the increasing pressure Uighurs and other ethnic minorities face in the heavily-policed region. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) / To go with AFP story China-politics-rights-religion-Xinjiang, FOCUS by Eva Xiao and Pak Yiu (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

The scale of the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uyghur and other mostly Muslim groups may constitute international crimes, including crimes against humanity, according to the UN assessment.

Additionally, the investigation discovered that these camps had violated the following human rights:

“Claims of systematic torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical care and unfavourable prison conditions, are believable, as are allegations of specific instances of sexual and gender-based violence,” the UN Human Rights Council stated. The reports also stated that since 2017, there have been “credible signs of reproductive rights breaches through the forced application of family planning programmes.”

“Similarly, there are indications that labour and employment schemes for purported objectives of reducing poverty and preventing ‘extremism’ may contain elements of coercion and discrimination on the basis of faith and race” the report adds and it advises China to act immediately to free “all persons arbitrarily robbed of their liberty.”