World Report 2023 | Human Rights Watch

Beijing’s mass arrests of nearly one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, who have been subjected to torture, political indoctrination, and forced labor in the Xinjiang region, and severe restrictions on religious, free speech, and cultural rights for the general population. for their severity, scale and brutality. The UN has echoed the conclusions of Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations that the violations in Xinjiang amount to crimes against humanity.

The scathing report by then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, based on years of investigation and internal Chinese government documents, laws, policies, data and policy statements, created a critical common reference point for governments to act upon. . The fact that the report was released only in the final minutes of Bachelet’s term shows the intense pressure from Beijing to bury her.

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The report sparked a remarkable diplomatic mobilization. A resolution to open a debate on the report was proposed in the Human Rights Council and failed by only two votes. The result reflected Beijing’s pressure on governments such as Indonesia – which said it should “turn a blind eye” to the Uighurs’ plight and then voted against – as well as its influence on the efforts of countries that abstained, including Argentina and India. , Mexico and Brazil. But the “yes” votes of Somalia, Honduras and Paraguay, and the sponsorship support of Turkey and Albania, along with 24 mostly Western countries, show the potential for cross-regional alliances and new coalitions to come together against China. expects government impunity.

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The collective focus on Xinjiang’s poor human rights record has put Beijing on the defensive, and the Chinese government is scrambling to explain away its abhorrent behavior. The outcome in Geneva reinforces the responsibility of the UN leadership to throw its full political weight behind the report and continue to monitor, document and report on the situation in Xinjiang and China more broadly. Anything less would be an abdication of the human rights pillar of the UN system’s responsibility to protect Turkish Muslims in Xinjiang.

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Meanwhile, as unease grows over the Chinese government’s repressive ambitions, the governments of Australia, Japan, Canada, the UK, the EU and the US have sought to develop trade and security alliances with India, behind its branding as “the world’s largest democracy”. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has emulated many of the abuses that have enabled China’s state repression — systematic discrimination against religious minorities, the stifling of peaceful expression and the use of technology to suppress freedom of expression. the strength.

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