The European Parliament has called on the government of China to close ‘re-education camps’ for Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
MEPs expressed serious concern over the incarceration of more than a million Xinjiang Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs in the camps; and urged the Chinese government to end the practice of detaining residents without trial based on a ‘predictive policing’ system. The re-education camps, described by Chinese authorities as ‘vocational training centres’, represent an egregious human rights violation in the form of enacting mass internment on specious grounds.
In a text officially adopted last week, the European Parliament voiced ‘its deepest concerns about the increasingly repressive regime that Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities are facing and demands that the authorities respect their fundamental freedoms, as recommended by credible reports; strongly condemns the sending of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs to political ‘re-education camps’ on the basis of a system of predictive policing, including for having travelled abroad or being adjudged too religiously devout; [and] calls on the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang to provide information about the locations and medical conditions of those detained’.
MEPs noted that measures implemented to date with the goal of ameliorating China’s human rights record had been largely ineffective; and called on the Council of the EU to implement targeted sanctions and asset freezing for culpable Chinese officials.
The European Parliament’s resolution went on to demand that the Chinese government ‘put an immediate end to the practice of arbitrary detention without charge, trial or conviction for a criminal offence of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minorities, to close all camps and detention centres, and to immediately and unconditionally release those detained; emphasises that any kind of detention, when applied in violation of fundamental international laws, that persecution against specific persons or groups on ethnic, cultural or religious grounds, and that other inhumane acts causing great suffering or serious injury, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on any civilian population, are unacceptable in the light of the international legal framework’.