Chaos, confusion & China

Forty-seven countries voiced concern about abuses in China`s far-western Xinjiang region, and demanded that the United Nations rights chief publish a long-delayed report on Uyghurs` repression. We continue to be gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Paul Bekkers, the Dutch ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the UN Human Rights Council.

Delivering a joint statement on behalf of 47 countries, Bekkers pointed to a number of credible reports indicating that more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained. Beijing has admitted that there are camps but that they are vocational skills training centres and necessary to tackle extremism. There are reports of ongoing widespread surveillance, discrimination against Uyghurs and other persons belonging to minorities, he said.

The joint statement also voiced concern about reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilisation, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, and forced separation of children from their parents by authorities. The UN rights chief has faced growing pressure to release her long-delayed report on Xinjiang, which diplomats say has been ready for months. Bachelet, who announced on Monday that she will not be seeking a second term, has promised that the report would be published before she steps down on August 31. The joint statement urged the report`s prompt release, and asked Bachelet to provide further information on the timeline.