Sat, 10 Jun 2023

Geneva [Switzerland], April 27 (ANI): Uyghur activists, many of whom are survivors of the internment camps set up by China in the Xinjiang region on Monday demonstrated for a week outside the United Nations compound in Geneva demanding a meeting with the UN human rights chief, a media report said.

The activists also demanded that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issue an overdue report detailing rights abuses in Xinjiang, Radio Free Asia reported.

Bachelet had announced last month that she had reached an agreement with the Chinese government for a visit in May, including the turbulent western China region.

The Uyghurs want Bachelet to release the human rights report before she visits China. They offered to accompany the former Chilean president on the trip, the report said.

"I'd be happy to take them to the camps and prisons in Urumqi," Gulbahar Jelilova, an activist said, referring to Xinjiang's capital. "If we don't accompany them, China will play a lot of games not to show them the reality. That's why we're requesting to go on this trip," she added.

Gulbahar Jelilova further said she could show the U.N. team a location where Uyghurs were executed and a hospital that removed organs from dead prisoners.

Jelilova said that she was detained on accusations of "aiding terrorism" while on a business trip to Urumqi and put into three different camps over a period of 15 months beginning in May 2017, the report said.

She returned to Kazakhstan in September 2018, as a direct result of appeals from her two children in Kazakhstan, who sought diplomatic assistance from the Kazakh government.

Jelilova has since alleged that she witnessed a number of atrocities inside the camps, including the torture and the deaths of innocent people, Radio Free Asia said.

Omir Bekali, an Uyghur of Kazakh descent who said he was tortured by authorities during the nine months he spent in three camps on allegations of terrorist activities, said the demonstration outside U.N. headquarters was "one of the first solid steps we have taken to end the ongoing genocide of our people and to free them sooner."Bachelet's office has been under pressure from rights activists to issue an overdue report on rights violations by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and others have been held in a vast network of internment camps operated by the Chinese government under the pretext of preventing religious extremism and terrorism among the mostly Muslim groups, the report said.

The Chinese government has publicly refuted any reports of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, however, China has been rebuked globally for the crackdown on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities, and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination. (ANI)

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