(TibetanReview.net, Sep03’22) – China has on Sep 1 condemned the Aug 31 report of the UN office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on Xinjiang, calling it illegal and invalid. But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres does not think so, and has called on Beijing to follow the list of recommendations made in that report to restore the human rights and dignity of the people of Xinjiang.
The report on the assessment of human rights concerns in Xinjiang was released after a long and repeated delays, just minutes before High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet completed her four-year term of office. The 45-page report said China’s repression of the Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in the region “may constitute crimes against humanity.”
“The report was planned and manufactured firsthand by the US and some Western forces, and is totally illegal and invalid”, China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Sep 2 quoted the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying.
He has said the US and some Western countries went to great lengths to pressure the OHCHR to release the report, and their schemes would be unpopular and lead nowhere.
Wang has noted that more than 60 countries had written to the OHCHR to oppose the release of the report and claimed that nearly 1,000 nongovernmental organizations and people from Xinjiang had also expressed their objections.
On the other hand, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters on Sep 1 that Guterres hoped China would “take on board the recommendations” made in the report.
Dujarric said the report “confirms what the Secretary-General has been saying on Xinjiang for quite some time, that human rights must be respected and the Uyghur community need to be respected,” noted the rfa.org Sep 2, citing an Al Jazeera news report.
The statement marks the first time the Secretary-General has openly called on China to follow through on the recommendations in the Xinjiang report.
The UN report covers the period beginning in early 2017 during which Chinese authorities arbitrarily detained up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang, according to numerous investigative reports by rights groups, researchers, foreign media and think tanks, said the rfa.org report.
In the USA, White House press secretary Katrine Jean-Pierre called on China to “immediately cease committing these atrocities.”
Her remarks came just after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington would work closely with its partners, civil society and the international community to seek justice and accountability for Uyghur victims and continue to hold China to account.
And Joseph Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has said, “As the report states, the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region requires urgent attention by the Chinese government, the United Nations, in particular, its human rights bodies, as well as the international community more broadly.”
Foreign ministries of the UK, Germany, and Japan have also welcomed the report’s release.