France, Germany, the United States and other Western countries called on China on Tuesday to close down political re-education camps that Uyghur activists and human rights experts say hold one million Uyghurs and other Muslims.
The United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) began its assessment of China’s human rights record amid a global outcry over the mass incarceration of an estimated one million Uyghurs and other minority ethnic Muslims in “re-education camps” in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
While as many as 1,000 Uyghur and Tibetan protesters and supporters gathered outside the Geneva forum, which reports on alleged violations in each U.N. member state every five years, 13 countries raised concern about the camp program, with many calling on Beijing to shutter the facilities.
“We are alarmed by the government of China’s worsening crackdown on Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” U.S. charge d’affaires Mark Cassayre was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
The United States urged China to “abolish all forms of arbitrary detention, including internment camps in Xinjiang, and immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals detained in these camps,” he said.