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[Published: Saturday September 26 2020]

 UK call out China for human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims

LONDON, 26 Sept. - (ANA) - Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth made a national statement on China at the UN Human Rights Council on Friday 25 September, noting the compelling evidence of systemic human rights violations in Xinjiang and called on China to allow the UN unfettered access to the province.
On Hong Kong, the Minister described the UK’s deep concerns about the direct threat that the new National Security Law in Hong Kong represents to rights and freedoms in the Special Administrative Region. 
Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, said at the UN Human Rights Council:
Today, we focus on the serious situation in China.
In Hong Kong, Beijing’s imposition of the National Security Law is a serious breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration. It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and directly threatens rights and freedoms.
The National Security Law is being implemented with the apparent intention to eliminate dissent. It allows prosecution of certain cases in mainland China, a jurisdiction where defendants are often held for long periods without charge or access to legal counsel, and where we have concerns about judicial independence, due process, and reports of torture.
Also of grave concern, in Xinjiang, there is compelling evidence – including from the Chinese authorities’ own documents – of systematic human rights violations.
Culture and religion are severely restricted, and we have seen credible reports of forced labour and forced birth control. Staggeringly, up to 1.8 million people have been detained without trial.
Across the country, we also remain seriously concerned about the pressure on media freedom.
Madam President, we call on China to uphold the rights and freedoms in the Joint Declaration, to respect the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary, allow unfettered access to Xinjiang and to release all those who are arbitrarily detained.
The UK has repeatedly taken a leading international role in holding China to account for its gross human rights violations and international obligations. The UK is the only country to have led a joint statement at the UN on this issue and dedicate two national statements to China.
The Uk is working with international partners to maximise impact, we regularly express our concerns about China’s actions towards its citizens that run counter to China’s international treaty obligations, including detentions without trial, detention of human rights defenders, and persecution of some religious and ethnic minorities.
Today’s statement follows the UK delivering a joint statement on Xinjiang and Hong Kong on behalf of 27 other countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council on 30 June 2020 highlighting concerns about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance, and restrictions in Xinjiang.
The UK Foreign Secretary Domonic Raab raised serious concerns directly with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi in March.
Britain is also encouraging UK businesses operating in Xinjiang to conduct due diligence to make sure they are not inadvertently contributing to any human rights violations, including forced labour in their supply chains.   - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/26 September 2020 - - -

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