China and the West accuse each other of violating human rights at the United Nations

China and the West accuse each other of violating human rights at the United Nations
China and the West accuse each other of violating human rights at the United Nations

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United Nations (USA): In a joint declaration followed by France at the United Nations, 43 countries called on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” regarding the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, prompting sharp criticism from Beijing, which condemned the “human rights record” of Washington, London and Paris.

During a videoconference meeting of a UN General Assembly committee specializing in human rights, French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said, “We demand that China allow immediate and unimpeded access to Xinjiang for independent monitors, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and its office.”

“We are particularly concerned about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” he added, noting that reliable information confirmed that China had set up “political re-education camps in this region” in which more than a million people are arbitrarily detained.

A statement by the 43 countries talks about acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, enforced sterilizations, sexual and gender-based violence, and procedures for forcible separation of children from their parents “disproportionately targeting Uyghurs and members of other minorities.”

China condemns ‘lies’

The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, condemned what he described as “lies” and “a conspiracy aimed at harming China,” stressing that all of the joint statement was “baseless accusations.” The Chinese ambassador stressed that “Xinjiang is enjoying development, and the people are developing every day and are proud of the progress they have made.”

At a lengthy press conference, Zhang Jun said his country is ready to receive a goodwill visit that has nothing to do with the investigation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He accused Washington, Paris and London of having “appalling human rights records”.

Beijing’s position received support, especially from Cuba, which criticized what it considered interference in China’s internal affairs.

In a document delivered to the media at the same time, China condemned the “inhumane ethnic cleansing of Indians” and the intensification of “harassment against Asian Americans” in the United States.

In this document, China also talked about the “ethnic problems that Britain suffered for a long time” and accused France of “killing tens of thousands of people during the colonial period”, thus committing “crimes against humanity”, as stated in the text.

The document points out that the French army killed “19 civilians” in Mali in January, while Paris has consistently denied any wrongdoing, as well as the “Islamophobia” in France and the “bad state of prisons” there.

A similar text, submitted by Britain and Germany in 2019 and 2020, respectively, was published in the same circumstances and drew sharp Chinese criticism as well.

This previous text was signed by 23 countries two years ago and then received the support of 39 countries last year, which joined it in 2021, especially Turkey, Eswatini, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

different positions

On the other hand, Haiti no longer appears among the signatories this year because of its complicated relationship with Beijing since Port-au-Prince recognized Taiwan, nor Switzerland, an AFP journalist noted.

A diplomatic source said that Switzerland’s initial position on the Uyghurs has not changed, but that it recently hosted a high-level meeting between the United States and China and thus decided to prioritize its mediation between the two great powers and not risk losing this role if it signed an annual statement calling for the rights of Uyghurs to be respected.

Diplomats assert that China increases its pressure every year to discourage the members of the United Nations from signing this joint statement, noting that it does not hesitate in this regard to threaten not to renew a peacekeeping mission in a particular country or to prevent the building of a new embassy for another country on its territory.

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