UN Calls On China To Free Muslim Uighurs

WASHINGTON  — United Nations human rights experts voiced concern on Thursday over alleged Chinese political “re-education camps” for Muslim Uighurs, and called for the immediate release of those detained on the “pretext of countering terrorism” simply because of their religion.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited estimates that “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uighurs” may be detained in the far western Xinjiang province.

Its findings were issued after a two-day review of China’s record, the first since 2009, earlier this month.

China’s foreign ministry rejected the allegations at the time, and said that anti-China forces were behind criticism of policies in Xinjiang.

China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

The independent experts said during the review that the panel had received many credible reports that a million ethnic Uighurs are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”. Panel expert Gay McDougall described it at the time as a “no-rights zone”.

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