Almost 50 countries have voiced concerns about China’s abuses in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. They are also demanding the UN rights chief release a long-delayed report on the human rights situation there.
In a joint statement representing 47 countries to UN Human Rights Council, The Netherlands ambassador to the UN in Geneva Paul Bekkers pointed out that more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained in the region.
The ambassador cited ongoing widespread surveillance, discrimination and against Uyghurs and other minorities.
The joint statement also cited reports of torture, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labor, and forced separation between children and their parents, among others.
This is the second year such a statement was released. Last year, Canada led the initiative with the support of the U.S. and many European countries.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet was granted access to visit last month — marking the first visit by a UN rights chief to China in 17 years.
The Netherlands ambassador also noted the recent restricted visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet to China in May. He asked her to release the long-delayed report on that visit.
There has been speculation that criticism from the trip is the reason she plans not to pursue a second term after her first four-year term ends in August.
On the UN rights chief side, she said the report would be released before she steps down on August 31.