China rebuked at UNHRC over Hong Kong, Xinjiang

WION Web Team United Nations Sep 25, 2020, 06.50 PM(IST)

China at UN Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

A Chinese diplomat rejected "baseless allegations" by Western delegations but did not address them.

China was on Friday called out at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by the West to restore basic legal rights in Hong Kong and open up to scrutiny its remote Xinjiang region where more than one million ethnic Uighurs are held.

The rare rebuke of China was voiced by the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada among others.

China has denied mistreating Uighurs and said the camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

"No state should be above the law, China's turn has come," John Fisher of Human Rights Watch told the forum, speaking on behalf of more than 300 activist groups.

Britain called on China to uphold rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, and maintain the independence of the former British colony's judiciary.

Germany, speaking for the EU, voiced concerns at "the existence of a large network of political re-education camps, widespread surveillance, and systemic restrictions on freedom of religion or belief against Uighurs and other minorities" in Xinjiang.

Canada's ambassador Leslie Norton voiced alarm at "mass arbitrary detention and separation of children from their parents, repressive surveillance, as well as reports of forced labour and forced sterilisation affecting Uyghurs and other minorities" in the region.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said last week she was discussing a possible visit to Xinjiang with Chinese authorities.

A Chinese diplomat rejected "baseless allegations" by Western delegations but did not address them.

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