Press Trust of india

Pak, Saudi, Russia, 34 other countries come out in support of China at UN over crackdown in Xinjiang

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Beijing, Jul 14:  Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia along with 34 other countries came out in China's defence in the United Nations, after envoys from 22 nations sharply criticised Beijing for the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in camps in the restive Xinjiang province, a media report said on Sunday.

Envoys from across the European Union, along with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada, last week jointly wrote a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) Michelle Bachelet, asking China to uphold its own laws and international obligations and stop arbitrary incarceration of the Uighurs and other Muslim and minority communities, and permit freedom of religion.

They also urged Beijing to "end mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region."

China is facing severe criticism from western countries over persistent reports of mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), in bid to control violent attack by the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

UN's Geneva-based Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last year said that it was alarmed by "numerous reports of mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities".

On July 11, China lodged a protest with the ambassadors of 22 countries for writing the letter to the UNHRC.

On Friday, China obtained the support of Muslim countries to refute the criticism demonstrating its growing global clout.

UN ambassadors of the 37 countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and UAE, countered China's criticism by the 22 western nations and wrote a joint letter to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights showing their support for China on its "remarkable achievements in the field of human rights," the state-run 'Global Times' reported.

"They said they support China's human rights records, and China's policies of resolutely fighting terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang region," the report said.

"Terrorism, separatism and religious extremism have caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including the right to life, health and development," it said quoting the letter.

"Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centres," the report said.

The ambassadors expressed their "firm opposition" to relevant countries' practice of politicising human rights issues, by naming and shaming and publicly exerting pressures on other countries.

"We urge the OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to conduct their work in an objective and impartial manner according to their mandate and with true and genuinely credible information, and value the communication with member states," they said in the letter.

Among the 37 countries, many of them are developing and Muslim majority nations.

"Their support for China shows these countries' recognition of protecting people's right to survival and development," the daily quoted Chinese experts as saying.

"It also exposes Western countries' blatant attempt to politicise human rights issue in the international arena, where human rights issues should be used to push forward the progress of the human society, rather than being used as a political tool to smear other sovereign nations," they said.

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