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West, Japan rebuke China at United Nations for detention of Uighurs

West, Japan rebuke China at United Nations for detention of Uighurs

The news outlet acknowledged that the multinational condemnation of China's concentration camps in Xinjiang marks the first time several members of the HRC join forces to denounce the mistreatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities at the hands of Beijing.

According to the U.N., the United States, and independent assessments, China has forced between almost one and two million Muslim minorities into the detention facilities, known as mind-transformation or re-education camps.

Chinese diplomat Jiang Duan told the council on Thursday a few hypocritical Western nations were distorting facts to smear Beijing over what it describes as vocational training centers in Xinjiang meant to combat extremism and provide new skills. Australia, Canada and Japan were among them, along with European countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland, but not the United States, which quit the foruma year ago.

The signatories issued the statement as a "letter" at the council and stopped short of seeking a council resolution - a testament to the challenges of building support against increasingly influential China.

'It is a public politicisation of human rights issues and wantonly interferes in China's internal affairs, ' he added.

"We call on China to uphold its national laws and worldwide obligations and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief in Xinjiang and across China", read the letter. "The idea of a resolution was never on the cards".

Another envoy said: "It's a formal step because it will be published as an official document of the Council.it is a signal".

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The Human Rights Watch welcomed the letter and the efforts of the 22 ambassadors of different countries.

"We have already lodged stern representations with the relevant countries".

Bachelet, a former president of Chile, has pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang. On the contrary, as a Council member, China must uphold the highest standards in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and fully cooperate with the Council.

"We call on China to uphold its national laws and global obligations and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief in Xinjiang and across China", the letter said.

The Chinese government has for decades tried to suppress pro-independence movements among Xinjiang's Muslim community, spurred largely by frustration over the influx of migrants from China's Han majority.

They are demanding that China allow independent global observers into the Xinjiang region, where the camps are located. China's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said last month that he hoped she would take up its invitation.