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UN Chief Hopes China Adopts Recommendations Made on Xinjiang Report: Spokesperson

Published: September 2, 2022
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric makes a statement on behalf of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in regards to a human rights report about China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslim community. (Image: via Reuters)

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hopes China will “take on board the recommendations” made in a report by the organization’s Human Rights Office on the Xinjiang province, a U.N. spokesperson said on Thursday (September 1).

China’s “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity, the outgoing U.N. human rights chief said in a long-awaited report on Wednesday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has faced criticism from some diplomats and rights groups for being too soft on China, released the report just minutes before her four-year term ended. She visited China in May.

China has vigorously denied any abuses in Xinjiang and issued a 131-page response to the 48-page U.N. report.

The U.N. Human Rights Office said in the report that serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang “in the context of the government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-‘extremism’ strategies”.

“The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups … may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” the U.N. office said on its website.

It recommended the Chinese government take prompt steps to release all those detained in training centres, prisons or detention facilities.

“There are credible indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive enforcement of family planning policies since 2017,” the office said.

It added that a lack of government data “makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the full extent of current enforcement of these policies and associated violations of reproductive rights.”

Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority that numbers around 10 million in the western region of Xinjiang, including the mass use of forced labour in internment camps. The United States has accused China of genocide.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the report as “completely illegal and void”.

By Reuters. (Production: Soren Larson)