China’s Human Rights Violations in Uyghur and Other Muslim Regions

China has been widely condemned for gross human rights violations in Uyghur and other Muslim regions, particularly in Xinjiang province. These violations have been described as crimes against humanity. Since 2017, the Chinese government has engaged in a systematic assault against Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims that includes mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance, mass surveillance, cultural and religious persecution, family separation, forced labor, sexual violence, and reproductive rights violations. Rights . Human Rights Watch concluded that these violations amounted to “crimes against humanity.”

As a result of these violations, it is estimated that nearly one million people were arbitrarily detained in facilities called “political education” camps. Detainees and prisoners are subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, cultural and political brainwashing, and forced labor. Families have been separated as Uyghurs abroad have little or no contact with their loved ones. There are also credible allegations of sexual abuse and violence in these facilities.

Foreign governments have condemned China’s policies in Xinjiang, and some have imposed targeted sanctions on Chinese government officials, institutions, and companies involved in these human rights abuses. However, there is an urgent need for relevant governments to take strong, coordinated action to improve accountability and improve the lives of long-suffering Uyghurs. Recommendations include establishing an investigation mechanism to identify those responsible, documenting the numbers and identities of those detained and imprisoned, imposing targeted sanctions against Chinese officials involved in abuses, and considering the prosecution of criminal cases under the concept of “universal jurisdiction.” Additionally, the UN human rights chief should brief the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Xinjiang and take steps to help victims and family members trace missing persons.

In summary, human rights violations in the Uyghur and other Muslim regions of the People’s Republic of China are widespread and severe and constitute crimes against humanity. The Chinese government’s systematic attack on Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims includes mass arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious persecution, family separation, forced labor, and sexual violence. As Rights Defenders, we call on the international community to take action towards international condemnation and accountability, including the immediate end to these violations, the establishment of an investigation mechanism, targeted sanctions and criminal cases based on the concept of “universal jurisdiction”.

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