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China

CSW signs onto statement calling for UN fact-finding mission

7 Feb 2019

CSW has joined over 15 organisations in calling on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution establishing an international fact-finding mission to investigate mass arbitrary detentions in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), China.

The statement details the ongoing human rights crisis in the region in the northwest of the country, where it is estimated that over one million predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, Kazakhs and members of other ethnic groups have been detained without charge in political re-education camps since 2017.

The detentions appear to be mainly driven by ethnicity, however there is also a clear religious element to the crackdown, illustrated by the fact that accessing religious materials online and taking part in communal religious activities have been given as reasons for detention, and by witness reports of detainees being required to renounce Islam and promise not to follow religion.

While the situation in Xinjiang has prompted widespread international condemnation, including at the UN, China has continued to tightly control and restrict visits to the region, with some areas completely off limits. The statement claims: “An international fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council is needed to uncover the truth. China’s membership in the Human Rights Council does not exempt it from scrutiny in the face of serious allegations, but instead obliges it to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

These calls echo those made by several UK parliamentarians at a debate on the crisis, which took place in the House of Commons on 29 January.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “Calls for a UN investigation into the situation in Xinjiang are becoming increasingly louder and more widespread. The strength of the evidence leaves no doubt that mass detentions are taking place in Xinjiang which violate domestic and international law: this is a human rights crisis happening right now. CSW joins the other signatories to this statement in urging the UN Human Rights Council to urgently adopt a resolution to investigate and uncover the truth, and take appropriate next steps.”

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