More than 40 countries ask China to respect rights of Uyghurs

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 22, 2021, 08:26 PM IST

Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang (file photo) Photograph:(AFP)

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China has long denied accusations of ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang. Chinese ambassador to the United Nations reacted angrily to the declaration issued by the countries

Forty-three countries called on China to "ensure full respect for the rule of law" for the Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.The statement was made at the United Nations on Thursday. The statement sparked outrage from Beijing. The statement has been signed by the United States along with several European and Asian member states and other countries.

The declaration accused China of human rights violations against the Uyghurs, including torture, forced sterilization and forced disappearances.

"We call on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office," the countries said in a joint statement, read at the United Nations by France.

"We are particularly concerned about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," the statement continued, citing "credible" reports that "indicate the existence of a large network of 'political reeducation' camps where over a million people have been arbitrarily detained."

China has long denied accusations of ethnic cleansing.

Its ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun furiously denounced Thursday what he termed the "lies" and "a plot to hurt China".

"Xinjiang enjoys development and the people are emancipating themselves every day and are proud of the progress made," he said.

And while Zhang told media that China was willing to host a "friendly" visit to the region, he did not agree to an inquiry by the UN human rights commissioner. 

He accused Washington, Paris and London of having a "terrible human rights record." 

In a statement to media, Beijing accused the US for "inhumane ethnic cleansing" against Native Americans and accused France of committing "crimes against humanity" in its former colonies. 

Similar declarations in 2019 and 2020 condemned China for its policies in Xinjiang, where United States has accused Beijing of carrying out genocide. 

China has in response upped pressure on UN member states not to support the declarations, according to diplomats. 

(With inputs from agencies)