New Delhi: For the first time, India on Friday clearly commented on the situation in China’s Xinjiang and said the rights of people of the autonomous region should be “respected and guaranteed”.
The remarks by External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi came a day after India abstained from voting on a resolution at the UN High Commission that called for a debate on concerns over the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
When asked about the abstention, he said it was in line with the long-held practice of not voting on country-specific resolutions.
“The human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region should be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly,” Bagchi said.
The comments came amid the continuing border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh.
“India remains committed to upholding all human rights. India’s vote is in line with its long held position that country specific resolutions are never helpful. India favours a dialogue to deal with such issues,” he said.
Bagchi said India has taken note of assessment of human rights concerns in Xinjiang by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR)
“We have taken note of the OHCHR Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China,” he said.
The draft resolution was pushed by a group comprising Canada, Denmark, Finland, the UK, the US, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and was co-sponsored by some other countries.
China has been facing mounting criticism over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province. Human rights groups believe China has arbitrarily detained close to a million Uyghurs in camps in the name of combating religious extremism.
In its recent report, the OCHCR said serious human rights violations have been committed in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the context of the Chinese government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-extremism strategies.
“The implementation of these strategies, and associated policies in XUAR has led to interlocking patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights,” it said.
“These patterns of restrictions are characterized by a discriminatory component, as the underlying acts often directly or indirectly affect Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim communities,” the report said.