France slams ‘unacceptable’ Chinese imprisonment of Uighurs

Ethnic Uighurs and their supporters protest China’s treatment of the Muslim minority in front of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland, November 6, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 July 2020

France slams ‘unacceptable’ Chinese imprisonment of Uighurs

  • Rights groups and experts estimate that more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps
  • Jean-Yves le Drian: There are imprisonment camps for Uighurs, mass detentions, disappearances, forced labor, forced sterilizations, the destruction of Uighur heritage

PARIS: Paris on Tuesday said the imprisonment of ethnic and religious minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region is “unacceptable” and demanded that Beijing let independent human rights observers visit the area.
Rights groups and experts estimate that more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps.
“France is closely following all the testimonies relayed by the press and through human rights organizations,” Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves le Drian told parliament.
“According to information that we read or have, there are imprisonment camps for Uighurs, mass detentions, disappearances, forced labor, forced sterilizations, the destruction of Uighur heritage,” Le Drian said.
“All these actions are unacceptable. We condemn them firmly,” added Le Drian, prompting applause in parliament.
He said France wanted China to allow access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
His comments come as tensions between the West and China are rising over a new draconian security law in Hong Kong and mounting opposition to the use of products made by Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Earlier this month, the US slapped sanctions on senior Chinese officials, demanding an end to the “horrific” abuse of Uighurs, and on Monday blacklisted 11 Chinese firms for alleged complicity in the repression.
On Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Beijing of “gross, egregious human rights abuses.”
Beijing denies any wrongdoing, saying Uighurs are attending vocational training centers, and has imposed retaliatory sanctions on three US senators.


Sri Lanka prison riot over coronavirus leaves 6 dead

Updated 59 min 14 sec ago

Sri Lanka prison riot over coronavirus leaves 6 dead

  • Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities

COLOMBO: Inmates unhappy about the coronavirus threat at an overcrowded prison near Sri Lanka’s capital have clashed with guards who opened fire, leaving six prisoners dead and 35 others injured, officials said Monday. Two guards were critically injured, they said.
Pandemic-related unrest has been growing in the country’s prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities.
More than a thousand inmates in five prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least two have died. About 50 prison guards have also tested positive.
Senaka Perera, a lawyer with the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, said the inmates at Mahara prison near Colombo had been frustrated because their pleas for coronavirus testing and separation of infected prisoners had been ignored by officials for more than a month.
Sri Lanka has experienced an upsurge in coronavirus cases since last month when two clusters – one centered at a garment factory and other at a fish market – emerged in Colombo and its suburbs.
Confirmed cases from the two clusters have reached 19,449. Sri Lanka has reported a total number of 22,988 coronavirus cases, including 109 fatalities.