UN reports China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims may be ‘crimes against humanity’ | World | News

On Wednesday, Michelle Bachelet published the human rights report only 11 minutes before her term as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was to come to an end. Uyghur human rights organisations have celebrated the report, but the Chinese Government has accused it of being anti-Chinese slander.

The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has found “credible evidence” of torture, ill-treatment, forced medical treatments as well as allegations of sexual and gender-based violence.

The document also states it has found evidence of women being subjected to forced abortions and forced sterilisations.

The report states: ”Several women interviewed by OHCHR raised allegations of forced birth control, in particular forced IUD placements and possible forced sterilisations with respect to Uyghur and ethnic Kazakh women.”

It added: “Among these, OHCHR interviewed some women who said they were forced to have abortions or forced to have IUDs inserted, after having reached the permitted number of children under the family planning policy.”

The report added that the “detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups” may constitute crimes against humanity.

The OHCHR has recommended the Chinese Government “takes prompt steps to release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty”.

The UN has said it cannot be sure how many people have been detained by the Chinese Government, but human rights groups estimate more than a million people are being held in camps in the Xinjiang province.

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The Chinese Government has denied the allegation of human rights abuses and their so-called ‘re-education’ camps are for fighting threats against terrorism.

In their official response, China has accused the UN of “wantonly smears and slanders” and said the report was “based on the disinformation and lies fabricated by anti-China forces.”

The Chairman of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, Omer Kanat, has said the report will be “a game-changer for the international response to the Uyghur crisis”.

He said: “Despite the Chinese government’s strenuous denials, the UN has now officially recognised that horrific crimes are occurring.”

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China attempted to stop the publication of the report and released a 121-page counter-report stating their detention centres were for “de-radicalisation”.

On Thursday, Ms Bachelet said she was under “tremendous pressure to publish or not to publish” the human rights report.

John Fisher of the Human Rights Watch acknowledged Ms Bachelet’s accomplishments but said: “All of that risks being overshadowed if you fail to publish your report on Xinjiang before leaving office.

“Uyghurs and other victims have placed their trust in you to report on the extent of the abuses they face.

“If you don’t stand up for victims, who will?”

The China Director of Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson said the report explained “why the Chinese government fought tooth and nail to prevent the publication.”

She called for the UN Human Rights Council to uphold a “comprehensive investigation into the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity.”

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