Germany is concerned about reports of possible human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China, asking Beijing to let UN experts into the region for an independent assessment, said German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebar.
“We are following with great concern the reports and the content of reports on the situation with the Uighurs, which affected up to a million people who are in so-called re-education camps”, she said at a briefing on Monday, commenting on the report of the International Consortium of Journalistic Investigations on the situation in the XUAR.
Adebar noted that the Federal Republic of Germany has been conducting a “serious dialogue with the Chinese side on the Uyghurs for a long time”.
“We demand from the Chinese side to improve the human rights situation and provide access there to the UN human rights commissioner and international experts”, – said the representative of the Foreign Ministry.
To a clarifying question, whether Germany demanded the closure of the camps as part of this dialogue, Adebar said that Berlin is requesting “access to facilities to conduct an assessment to find out what is really happening there.” “This is a complex topic, we plan to continue discussing the topic in the coming days and weeks. In what format and on what platform, this remains to be decided”, – she said.
In turn, the official representative of the Cabinet of Ministers of Germany, Steffen Seibert, answering a question about the work of German firms in the XUAR, noted that since sanctions are not applied against China in connection with the situation in the region, enterprises have the right to make decisions themselves. He also emphasized that “it is necessary to concentrate on checking these reports so that the ombudsman can make an independent assessment.”
Human rights organizations and Western countries regularly criticize the PRC for the actions of the authorities towards the SAUR population. So, in August 2018, experts of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in a published report said that up to 1 million ethnic Uighurs could be in “re-education camps” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that information about the upkeep of Uyghurs in the “re-education camps” in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was not confirmed and did not correspond to reality.
The Chinese authorities say that a system of “vocational education institutions” has been established in the area, with the main emphasis on teaching the common language, the provisions of the law and professional skills. According to the Chinese side, these centers are working to strengthen “resistance to terrorism and extremism”, as well as de-extremization.