Turkey urges China to protect religious minorities in Xinjiang region

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu addresses his statement during the High-Level Segment of the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. (AP)
Updated 25 February 2019

Turkey urges China to protect religious minorities in Xinjiang region

  • Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Geneva forum that reports of human rights violations against Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang were serious cause for concern

GENEVA: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu voiced concern on Monday at China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region and called on Beijing to protect freedom of religion and cultural identity.

The UN Human Rights Council opened its main, annual four-week session and diplomats and activists say China has lobbied hard to avoid scrutiny over its policies in Xinjiang and other rights issues.

Western countries are looking to Turkey and other members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to spotlight what China calls re-education and training facilities in Xinjiang.

UN experts and activists say the camps hold a million Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language, and other Muslims. China has denied accusations of mistreatment and deems criticism within the UN council to be interference in its sovereignty.

Cavuslogu did not specifically mention mass detention camps in the remote western region of China. But he told the Geneva forum that reports of human rights violations against Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang were serious cause for concern.

A distinction should be made between “terrorists and innocent people,” Cavusoglu added.

He then inserted a line into his prepared remarks, adding: “And I have to underline that we support the One China policy.”

He was referring to China’s stance that the country encompasses Taiwan and autonomous regions including Xinjiang and Tibet.

“We encourage Chinese authorities and expect that universal human rights, including freedom of religion, are respected and full protection of the cultural identities of the Uighurs and other Muslims is ensured,” Cavusoglu said.

China, a member of the 47-member Human Rights Council, did not immediately respond to his remarks, but delegations will be free to reply to allegations later in the session.

China’s counter-terror and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang should be applauded for creating a new method of tackling the problem, a senior Chinese diplomat told foreign envoys last week.


One dead after suspected suicide bombing in Indonesia

Updated 4 min 22 sec ago

One dead after suspected suicide bombing in Indonesia

  • The explosion happened around 8:45 a.m. local time (0145 GMT) at a police compound in Medan on Sumatra island
  • Unconfirmed local media reports said at least one police officer had been rushed to hospital after the bombing
MEDAN, Indonesia: A suspected suicide bombing outside a police station in Indonesia has left at least one attacker dead, authorities said Wednesday.

The explosion happened around 8:45 a.m. local time (0145 GMT) at a police compound in Medan on Sumatra island.

“We suspect this is a suicide bombing with one attacker killed,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw a body lying on the ground outside the station.

A police source who did not want to be named told AFP that the attack was perpetrated by at least two suicide bombers, but that was not officially confirmed.

Unconfirmed local media reports said at least one police officer had been rushed to hospital after the bombing but that their condition was not immediately known.

Police stations have been frequent targets for radicals in the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

In August, Indonesian authorities shot and arrested a suspected militant who attacked police officers at a station in the country’s second-biggest city Surabaya.