U.N. Urges China to Address Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang and Tibet

Featured & Cover U N Urges China to Address Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang and Tibet

U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk urged China on Monday to enact suggested revisions to laws that infringe upon basic rights, particularly in regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet.

In his address to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Turk emphasized the importance of implementing recommendations to rectify laws, policies, and practices that violate fundamental rights, echoing concerns raised by various human rights bodies regarding Xinjiang and Tibet. He stated, “I also call on the government to implement the recommendations made by my Office and other human rights bodies in relation to laws, policies and practises that violate fundamental rights, including in the Xinjiang and Tibet regions.”

China has faced persistent allegations from rights organizations regarding the mistreatment of Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group with a population of approximately 10 million in the Xinjiang region. Accusations include the widespread use of forced labor within camps. Beijing has consistently denied these allegations. The Chinese diplomatic mission in Geneva declined to provide immediate comment in response to Turk’s remarks.

The situation in Tibet, which China annexed in 1950, has also drawn international scrutiny. While Beijing portrays the takeover as a “peaceful liberation” from feudalistic serfdom, human rights groups and exiles have continuously criticized what they perceive as oppressive governance in Tibetan regions.

Turk revealed ongoing dialogue between his office and Beijing regarding human rights concerns. Additionally, he urged for the release of individuals detained under charges of “picking quarrels and making trouble,” including human rights defenders and lawyers.

The call for action echoes a report issued in August 2022 by Michelle Bachelet, then U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, which was released just before the conclusion of her mandate. The report highlighted the possibility that China’s detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups might amount to crimes against humanity.

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