A UN report on human rights in Xinjiang blames China. But what would be the impact?


The 22-year-old Australian-born man whose family is from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China was awakened Thursday by a flurry of WhatsApp messages about reports from other young Uyghurs around the world.

Yarmuhammad, leader of the Uyghur Youth Group in Australia, said: “Everyone is relieved that something like the report has come out … (but) relief does not bring complete relief.” .

“It’s even more upsetting because we knew. We always knew deep down that these things were happening. These things were very real to us. I Many of our community members have had first-hand experience, and many of our families have.”

For years, members of the Uyghur diaspora and rights groups have called for a strong response within the United Nations system to repeated allegations of grave human rights abuses in Xinjiang. has not voted to establish an investigation into the allegations it regularly disputes. firm denial.
of report The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ statement builds on years of assessment of these allegations and provides a strong statement.crime against humanity.”
“This is a long-awaited recognition of the unimaginable suffering of the Uyghur people against the world’s most prestigious human rights.” Human Rights Lawyer Reyhan AssatThe brother who imprisoned Uyghur entrepreneur Ekpar Assat has been detained in Xinjiang since 2016.

“No government can go unscrutinized and immune to accountability. It’s an accusation,” said Assat, who lives in the United States.

China has repeatedly denied accusations of human rights abuses in the region, and on Wednesday accused the UN report of being “based on disinformation and lies fabricated by anti-Chinese forces.”

There are also clear questions about what impact the report will have on China and on Beijing. Entering the third term next month.

uncertain procedure

That many Uighurs and human rights groups have rallied in support of this report and serve as a wake-up call to galvanize support for action within the United Nations, where both the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council will meet in less than two weeks. asked for

John Fisher, deputy director of global advocacy at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Thursday: “The government will establish independent investigations, hold accountable people, and provide due justice to Uyghurs and others. We shouldn’t waste our time taking all the necessary steps to do so.”

Other countries have also called for follow-up, and Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield said, “It is important that all members of the Human Rights Council have the opportunity to formally discuss the findings of this report as soon as possible. , the perpetrators of these atrocities will be held accountable.”

Before publication, proponents hoped the strong report would serve as a catalyst to encourage more countries like the Human Rights Council to uphold China’s accountability, as well as encourage action from other UN agencies. He said he wanted

But actions taken within the United Nations will depend on the will of Member States, such as the Human Rights Council, which must vote to establish mechanisms such as formal human rights inquiry. China has great influence.

The report itself is not on the current agenda for the next meeting, according to the Human Rights Council website. French President Nicolas de Riviere said on Thursday that it was not even on the UN Security Council agenda and “probably won’t be discussed” in September.

Even if Human Rights Council member states ultimately voted to follow the report into a formal inquiry, they have no power to compel China to allow UN investigators access to its borders. Adherence to other recommendations in the report — for example, Arbitrarily Detained Persons reveal the whereabouts of missing person — It is at the discretion of Beijing.

And China has already made its stance clear.

Asked at a regular press briefing on Thursday whether China would take action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “China justifiably rejects it because it consists of a purpose.” About the recommendations made.

Impact on China

China is clearly concerned about the impact of the report.

The diplomat has repeatedly spoken out against his release and has already issued multiple statements denouncing it, including a 131-page rebuttal to the High Commissioner.

A spokesman for China’s Permanent Mission to the UN said Thursday that “the so-called assessment is an illegal document and a perverse product of coercive diplomacy by the United States and other Western countries.”

However, it remains to be seen whether this report and the ensuing international pressure will have any impact on the ground in Xinjiang. prison system and convert to forced labor device culture with monitoring.

The UN report also said there were signs of forced labor, a move to formal imprisonment and “aggressive” surveillance in Xinjiang, citing China’s claims that there was a system of so-called “vocational education and training centers” there. said it could not be verified. Closed.

China’s heavily censored domestic media environment has been largely silent, with state media refusing to report the release of domestic reports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a virtual address at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 21, 2021.

Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank, said the report was “at least” an embarrassment to China on the international stage, especially on the eve of the party’s convention, and an upcoming political event. is referring to Here, Xi will enter his third term.

“China can deny the legitimacy of all reports about Xinjiang from Western countries and media outlets as biased. But now the United Nations, with its credibility and legitimacy, is saying the same thing. Beijing. are marginalized about this and can hardly argue against it,” she said.

The report is a “negative blow” to China’s international image and could overshadow Xi’s speech if he addresses the United Nations General Assembly this month, although he has already chosen not to do so. Yoon said it would not necessarily affect the basic position of the country where it is located. We will oppose China on this issue at the United Nations.

And it “has not yet seen a tangible impact on the ground,” she added.

For communities of directly affected people who are thinking of their loved ones in their communities, these questions are tough and pressing.

“In the end, we are still relieved and happy that reports like this have come to light. It shines a light on China and helps us in our fight for human rights. “But there’s always that sinking feeling that it doesn’t help.”

CNN’s Hilary Whiteman, Nectar Gunn and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

Source: www.cnn.com

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