The report published on Wednesday after the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelet, in May, states that “reports of patterns of torture or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are reports of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence” .
In a strongly worded assessment at the end of the report, the Office says that the extent of arbitrary detentions against Uyghurs and others, in the context of “the more general restrictions and deprivation of fundamental rights, enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity“.
The Office notes that Wednesday’s report is “based on a rigorous review of the documentary material currently available to the Office, and that its credibility is assessed according to standard human rights methodology.”
“Special attention was paid to the government’s own laws, policies, data and statements. The Office also solicited information and engaged in dialogue and technical exchanges with China throughout the process.”
Released on the last day of Bachelet’s four-year term, the report says the violations have occurred in the context of the Chinese government’s claim that it is pursuing terrorists among the Uyghur minority with a strategy of fighting the extremism involving the use of so-called Vocational Education and Training Centers or re-education camps.
UN Human Rights said government policy in recent years in Xinjiang has “led to interconnected patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights“.
Although the system of so-called Vocational Education and Training Centers, as China says, “has been reduced in scope or dissolved”, the report recalls that “the laws and policies that support it are still in force”, which leads to greater use of incarceration.
Arbitrary detention systems and related patterns of abuse since 2017, says the Office of the High Commissioner, “occur in the context of broader discrimination” against Uyghurs and other minorities.
Violations of international law
“This has included far-reaching, arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, in violation of international laws and standards,” including restrictions on religious freedom and the rights to privacy and movement.
In addition, the report notes that the Chinese government’s policies in the region have “transcended borders”, separating families, “cutting off” contacts and producing “patterns of intimidation and threats” against the broader Uyghur diaspora who have denounced the conditions in your country.
The Office of the High Commissioner also says that The Chinese government “has a primary duty to ensure that all laws and policies conform to international human rights law and to promptly investigate any allegations of human rights violations, to ensure perpetrators are held accountable, and to provide redress to victims.”
Among the recommendations that the UN rights office makes in the report is that the government take “prompt measures” to release all people arbitrarily imprisoned in Xinjiang, whether in camps or any other detention center. .
China must inform families of the whereabouts of all those who have been detainedproviding their exact location, and help establish “secure channels of communication” and allow families to meet, the report said.
It also calls on China to carry out a full legal review of its national security and anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang, “to ensure their full compliance with binding international human rights law” and to repeal any laws that do not meet the standards. international.
It also asks the government promptly investigate allegations of human rights violations in camps and other detention centers“including allegations of torture, sexual violence, ill-treatment, forced medical treatment, as well as forced labor and reports of deaths in custody.”
In a lengthy and detailed response published alongside the forceful report, the Chinese government concluded by stating that the authorities in the Xinjiang region act according to the principle that everyone is equal before the law, “and the accusation that its policy is ‘based on discrimination’ is baseless”.
China said that their anti-terrorist and “de-radicalization” efforts in the region had been carried out in accordance with “the rule of law” and in no way added to the “suppression of ethnic minorities”.
On the issue of the camps, Beijing responded that vocational training centers are “learning facilities established in accordance with the law and intended for deradicalization” and not “concentration camps.”
There is no “massive violation of rights
“The legitimate rights and interests of workers from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are protected and there is no ‘forced labor,'” the Chinese statement said, adding that no “massive violation of rights” has occurred.
The statement calls on the international community to be “clear on the truth” of its anti-terrorist campaign in the region, and to “see through the clumsy actions and malicious motives of the US and Western anti-China forceswho are trying to use Xinjiang to contain China.”
It also calls for the UN and other international organizations to investigate “the human rights disasters caused, and the numerous crimes committed, by the United States and some other Western countries, both at home and abroad.”
Bachelet’s mission in May
The human rights chief undertook her mission in May, at the invitation of the Chinese government, and visited Xinjiang to examine the situation in that country.
During her mission, Bachelet spoke with various government officials, various civil society organizations, academics, and community and religious leaders. In addition, he met with various online organizations before the visit on issues related to Xinjiang province, Tibet, Hong Kong and other parts of China.
At the end of his visit, although expressed concern about issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, human rights defenders and labor rightsalso praising China’s “tremendous achievements” in alleviating poverty, and eradicating extreme poverty, 10 years ahead of schedule.
Bachelet welcomed other developments in the country, such as legislation that improves the protection of women’s rights and the work carried out by NGOs to promote the rights of LGBTI people, people with disabilities and older people.
The person in charge of ensuring human rights in the world underlined the important role that China has to play, at the regional and multilateral level, and pointed out that all the people with whom she met during her visit, from government officials, to society civil society, academia, diplomats and others, demonstrated a sincere will to advance in the promotion and protection of human rights for all.