Last night the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released her report into the human rights abuses taking place in the Uyghur region. Despite numerous attempts by the Chinese government to whitewash and suppress this report, the investigation has found evidence of religious and cultural repression, torture and sexual violence, forced birth prevention measures, coercive forced labour programmes, and arbitrary detention that may amount to crimes against humanity.
The Chinese Communist Party has blocked meaningful access to the region for over five years. Journalists and other external actors visiting the Uyghur region have been offered no more than a propaganda tour, as we saw during Madame Bachelet’s Potemkin-style visit in May. Even within this context of extreme censorship and repression, the UN has found evidence of some of the most severe human rights abuses being carried out in the world today.
“Despite the Chinese government’s attempts to bury this report, and its refusal to provide any meaningful access to the region, the investigation has found evidence of human rights abuses so severe the UN has stated they may constitute crimes against humanity.” Rahima Mahmut, Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide, said. “The international community, from political leaders to corporations to consumers, can no longer claim ignorance – failure to act now is wilful complicity. Sanctions must be placed on the perpetrators of these crimes, the UK’s supply chains must be rid of Uyghur forced-labour made goods, repressive surveillance companies like Hikvision should be banned and Uyghur refugees given immediate support. Finally, we need the UK government to take global leadership and call this what it is: genocide.”
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