As 39 Countries Urge China to Respect the Civil Rights of Muslim Uighur Minorities

Geneva, MINA – A total of 39 German-led countries have urged China to respect the rights of the Uighur Muslim minority, and expressed their concern about the political situation in Hong Kong.

“We are very concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the latest developments in Hong Kong,” said German UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, who led the initiative at a meeting on human rights Tuesday at the United Nations. Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.

Germany, including the United States, Britain and Japan, urged China to allow UN human rights observers to have “direct, meaningful and unrestricted access” to Xinjiang. The place where about a million Uighurs are being held is in what it calls a vocational skills training center, but critics call it a detention camp.

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The statement also noted allegations of other human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including strict restrictions on religious freedom, as well as widespread surveillance, forced labor and forced sterilization.

Among the 39 countries that signed the declaration were most of the EU member states, and several other countries such as Canada, Haiti, Honduras, Australia and New Zealand.

The declaration also calls on Beijing to uphold the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, amid growing accusations of political repression following the enactment of a controversial national security law in July.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted that more countries have signed a declaration this year “in spite of China’s constant threats and intimidation tactics against those who speak out.”

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In 2019, a similar text designed by the UK won 23 signatures.

Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch, director of the UN organization, also called on UN leaders to “immediately establish an international mechanism to monitor rights abuses in China.”

Meanwhile, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, dismissed the accusations as “baseless”.

Zhang said the declaration was aimed at “provoking confrontation” among UN member states. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)