Bachelet, former president of Chile, has called China to provide United Nations the access to examine the accountings of disappearances and erratic imprisonment, particularly of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
The unprecedented letter to the president of the forum, dated July 8, was signed by the ambassadors of 22 countries. The joint letter was sent on behalf of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and 15 EU States, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
China says facilities there are "vocational training centres" and they are necessary to fight terrorism and eradicate extremism. This was due to governments' fears of a potential political and economic backlash from China, diplomats said.
In a letter to Bachelet, the ambassadors of these 22 countries asked China to maintain the dignity of its own laws and global obligations and put an end to the erratic imprisonment, allowing the freedom of religion.
In addition to travel restrictions and a massive surveillance network, China is estimated to have arbitrarily detained up to 1 million Muslims in prison-like detention centers in Xinjiang, with reports of harsh treatment and poor living conditions inside.
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The Chinese side has invited a number of diplomats, media outlets, experts and scholars from various countries to visit Xinjiang and also sent invitations to the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, he said.
Diplomats rarely send open letters to the 47-member council to criticize a country's record, but the move may have been the only available option to spotlight Xinjiang, with China likely having enough support to vote down a formal resolution. Former detainees have reported cases of torture, forced medication, and rape.
Hundreds of people have been killed there in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang.
"Those allegations by a small group of Western countries and NGOs can not do away with the tremendous achievements that were made against terrorism and radicalisation and can not change the fact that Xinjiang people are leading a happy life", he said.
John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said the statement put pressure on China to stop "its horrific treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang". This is the Chinese regime's stated rationale for rounding up Uyghurs in the camps.
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