A UN committee expressed concern on Monday about China’s treatment of the Muslim minorityincluding the use of forced labor of the uighursin a sweeping report ratcheting up pressure on Beijing over the human rights.
The findings of the UN-appointed group of independent experts follow a series of hearings in Geneva last month, in which rights groups raised a number of issues, including Beijing’s COVID-19 policies. , the treatment of human rights defenders and their Muslim minority.
Last year, a report by the UN human rights chief claimed that China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, a minority ethnic Muslim majority of some 10 million people in Xinjiang, in the far west of the country, may constitute crimes against humanity. China strongly denies the allegations.
The UN Committee, made up of 18 people and charged with supervising compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, expressed concern about the “numerous indications of coercive measures, including forced labor”against ethnic minorities, including the Uyghurs.
The UN called on Beijing to immediately pass legislation banning coercive measures, dismantle all systems of forced labor and release all those subjected to it.
China submitted an 11-page response to the report saying it would carefully study the recommendations and was willing to implement any “suitable for China’s national realities.” However, he rejected the recommendations on Xinjiang, among others, calling them “false”.
The commission also called for an end to reprisals and persecutions “systematic” against human rights defenders and lawyers working in this field.
In the same way, he expressed his concern about the growing mental health problems after the long confinements in the country due to the strict policy of “zero COVID”, which ended at the end of last year, and called for more funds for this area.
In relation to minorities, the UN body also asked China to take the necessary measures to prevent nomadic herders, including those of Tibetan origin, from continuing to be relocated and leave their ancestral lands.
In the same way, it is requested that other rural residents not be forced to participate in programs so that they change their homes and move to other areas in the countryside.
Furthermore, the Committee urges the Chinese Government to strengthen its fight against corruption and facilitate channels for witnesses, activists or other people to make complaints in this regard.
The Committee, which assessed the situation of the economic, social and cultural rights in China and other countries at its last session in Genevatoday issued its conclusions and recommendations, among which is -in the case of China- the call to prohibit measures of force such as forced labor.
Along these lines, it recommends dismantling all facilities that can be used for this purpose, whether public or private, including those that may exist at the local level, and freeing all the people who can be found there.
(With information from Reuters and EFE)
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