A UN committee on Thursday urged China to release people held in detention centers in the Xinjiang region and recommended providing victims with “medicines and reparations”.
The committee’s statement increases pressure on China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to pass reforms after a report by the global body’s human rights chief in August that said its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims could constitute a crime against humanity.
Human rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against the Uyghurs, a Muslim-majority ethnic minority numbering about 10 million in Xinjiang, including the massive use of forced labor in concentration camps. China denies any violation of rights.
His spokesman at the diplomatic mission in Geneva, Liu Yuyin, said that Beijing strongly opposed the action of the UN committee, saying that it “defames and slanders the human rights situation in China on the basis of disinformation manufactured by Western countries and by anti-Chinese separatists”.
The 18-member committee regularly monitors countries’ compliance with a 1965 international convention on racial discrimination to which China and some 180 other countries are parties.
The committee said the “lack of improvement in the human rights situation in Xinjiang” prompted it to adopt the recommendations, known as decisions.
The document also calls on China to “conduct a thorough review of its legal framework governing national security, counter-terrorism and minority rights in (Xinjiang)” to ensure compliance with the convention.
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