Ambassadors from 50 countries at UN support China on Xinjiang-related issues

BISHKEK (TCA) — Ambassadors from 50 countries to the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) have co-signed a letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to voice their support for China’s position on issues related to its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China’s Xinhua news agency reported on July 27.

Earlier, on July 12, a number of ambassadors in Geneva sent the joint letter to show their support for China, and as of July 26 evening, more ambassadors had joined, the Chinese Mission to the UNOG said.

In the joint letter, the ambassadors commend China for Xinjiang’s economic and social progress, effective counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures, and strong guarantee of human rights.

They appreciate the opportunities provided by China for diplomatic envoys, officials of international organizations, and media professionals to visit Xinjiang, and point to the contrast between Xinjiang in the eyes of those who have visited it and the one portrayed by some western media.

The ambassadors also urge a certain group of countries to stop using uncorroborated information to make unfounded accusations against China.

“I was surprised that some people call these vocational training and education centers concentration or internment camps,” Vadim Pisarevich, deputy permanent representative of Belarus to the UNOG, told Xinhua.

“They’re nothing of the kind. They look like ordinary educational facilities and even I said that they are more than this because they provide life skills training to the students,” Pisarevich said.

“Terrorism and extremism are an intractable challenge across the world. In the face of its grave threat, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region responded with a number of lawful steps, including setting up vocational education and training centers, to prevent and combat terrorism and extremism,” the Chinese Mission to the UNOG said in its statement.

“The great diversity of countries co-signing the letter — from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe, especially the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) — makes it clear that the international community has drawn a fair conclusion about Xinjiang’s human rights achievement and counter-terrorism and de-radicalization outcome,” the statement said.

At a press conference on July 26, China’s Ambassador to the UNOG Chen Xu also rebuked some Western nations for slandering China over Xinjiang, noting that China doesn’t accept these “groundless accusations.”

Jamshed Khamidov, head of Tajikistan’s mission in Geneva, said his government opposes any attempts to use the Human Rights Council for particular political purposes, and efforts should be made to avoid any politicization of the Human Rights Council.

“We know the situation in the Xinjiang region. We know how much the government of China is doing … and what kind of measures were implemented in this region to support its peace, security and development,” he said.

The United Nations said in August 2018 that an estimated 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim indigenous people of Xinjiang were being held in what it described as “counterextremism centers” in northwestern China, RFE/RL reported.

China says that the facilities are “vocational education centers” aimed at helping people steer clear of terrorism and allowing them to be reintegrated into society.

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Times of Central Asia