UN report finds possible ‘crimes against humanity’ in China’s Xinjiang
The United Nations’s human rights office has condemned China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in its Xinjiang region, saying China may have committed “crimes against humanity.”
“The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups … in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded in its report Wednesday.
The report, released by outgoing U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, stated that the Chinese government’s application of its broad counterterrorism and counterextremism laws “has led to interlocking patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights.”
“Allegations of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence,” the office declared.
Chinese representatives to the U.N. published a report responding to the OHCHR in which they denied all allegations of human rights abuses.
“People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are living a happy life in peace and contentment,” the Chinese government said, calling the accusation that its policies are discriminatory “groundless” and accusing the U.N. report of interfering “in China’s internal affairs.”
The OHCHR proposed recommendations to the Chinese government, including that it immediately take steps to release those held in Xinjiang.
The office also recommended that China “promptly investigates allegations of human rights violations in [vocational education and training centers] and other detention facilities, including allegations of torture, sexual violence, ill-treatment, forced medical treatment, as well as forced labour and reports of deaths in custody.”
China responded by blaming the U.S. and its allies for opposing its government and called on the U.N. to investigate other countries instead.