Monday, February 22, 2021

UK to challenge China at UN, demanding fact-finding access to Xinjiang

The 'disgraceful' treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the crisis in Myanmar and the situation in Belarus are also slated to be raised by Britain.

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Britain will on Monday call for the United Nations to be given “urgent and unfettered” access to Xinjiang to investigate reports of abuses in the Chinese region.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will also mark London’s return to the UN Human Rights Council as a voting member by condemning the rights record of fellow council members China and Russia and will raise concerns about Myanmar and Belarus, Reuters is reporting.

On China, Raab will refer to reports of abuses in Xinjiang, including torture, forced labour and forced sterilisation of women which he will say “are taking place on an industrial scale”.

“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent fact-finding expert, must be given urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang,” he will say.

China has been widely condemned for setting up in Xinjiang what Beijing describes as “vocational training centres” to stamp out religious extremism and give people new skills.

Beijing’s critics have called them concentration camps in which at least a million Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.

Raab will also raise the “disgraceful” treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the crisis in Myanmar and the situation in Belarus. He will set out steps Britain has taken to address these issues, such as sanctions, and encourage others to follow.

The UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland, is tasked with promoting and protecting human rights around the world. The council has 47 member states, which are elected by the majority of members of the general assembly through direct and secret ballot.

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