United Nations on Wednesday (local time) accused China of actions that “may constitute international crimes, in particular, crimes against humanity” in its Xinjiang region for mass detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.
A long-awaited report was released on August 31 in Geneva, minutes before Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, was set to leave office. She was come under fire for repeatedly postponing the report’s release with little explanation — baffling diplomats, and human rights advocates. In December the spokesperson of Michelle Bachelet announced plans to publish the report within weeks, but it failed to appear, reinforcing perceptions of a United Nations leadership reluctant to stand up to China.
“The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” the report stated.
The UN report further stated that the allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, including of rape, “appear credible and would in themselves amount to acts of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.”
UN human rights experts have raised serious concerns about the alleged detention and forced labour of Muslim Uyghurs in China, calling for unhindered access to the country to conduct fact-finding missions and urging global and domestic companies to closely scrutinize their supply chains.
Experts have raised concern over the plight of Uyghur Muslims and the support for the cause has found expression through calls to boycott Chinese products that are manufactured in Xinjiang.
A number of watchdogs have also come up with several reports with first-person accounts of affected minorities, which showed Beijing’s active involvement in the crime against humanity.
Several organisations have made global demands to boycott Chinese products as well as to announce a diplomatic boycott of events held by China.
Even in the face of mounting evidence, China refuses to deny all evidence and terms the claims as western propaganda.