China committing genocide against Uighurs: report

China committing genocide against Uighurs: report
Workers sift through newly harvested cotton at a processing plant in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, December 1, 2015. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 09 March 2021

China committing genocide against Uighurs: report

China committing genocide against Uighurs: report
  • Rights activists have said Xinjiang is home to a vast network of extrajudicial internment camps that have imprisoned at least one million people
  • Newlines released a report in December that alleged ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang were being forced to pick cotton through a coercive state-run program

WASHINGTON: The Chinese government’s treatment of Uighurs has violated “each and every act” prohibited by the United Nations’ Genocide Convention, a report by dozens of international experts alleged Tuesday.
The report from Washington-based think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy offers an independent analysis of what legal responsibility Beijing could bear over its actions in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Rights activists have said Xinjiang is home to a vast network of extrajudicial internment camps that have imprisoned at least one million people, which China has defended as vocational training centers to counter extremism.
“Uighurs are suffering serious bodily and mental harm from systematic torture and cruel treatment, including rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and public humiliation, at the hands of camp officials,” the report said.
The outgoing administration of president Donald Trump declared in January that China is carrying out genocide against the Uighurs and other mostly Muslim people.
For their part, Canadian MPs voted in February to label Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang as genocide, and ministers called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to officially label it as such.
Newlines identified over 30 experts in fields ranging from international law to Chinese ethnic policies it said had examined the available evidence regarding Beijing’s treatment of Uighur people and the Genocide Convention.
The convention was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948, with signatories that include China and 151 other countries.
It offers a handful of specific definitions of genocide, such as deliberately imposing conditions “calculated to bring about (a group’s) physical destruction in whole or in part.”
While violating just part of the convention can qualify as genocide, the report alleges Chinese authorities are in “breach of each and every act prohibited” by the definitions.
“The persons and entities perpetrating the... acts of genocide are all state agents or organs — acting under the effective control of the State — manifesting an intent to destroy the Uighurs as a group,” the report alleges.
Newlines, which was previously known as Center for Global Policy, released a report in December that alleged ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang were being forced to pick cotton through a coercive state-run program.
The report — which referenced online government documents — said the total number involved in three majority-Uighur regions exceeds a 2018 estimate of 517,000 people forced to pick cotton as part of the scheme by hundreds of thousands.
China has strongly denied allegations of forced labor involving Uighurs in Xinjiang and says training programs, work schemes and better education have helped stamp out extremism in the region.


Italian PM’s office denies Rome wants EU to pay Libya to block migrants

Italian PM’s office denies Rome wants EU to pay Libya to block migrants
Updated 56 min 25 sec ago

Italian PM’s office denies Rome wants EU to pay Libya to block migrants

Italian PM’s office denies Rome wants EU to pay Libya to block migrants
  • Italy’s PM favors EU offering financial assistance to all African countries involved in migration to Europe, an official told Reuters
  • Some 13,000 migrants have landed on Italy's coast this year

ROME: Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office denied a media report on Tuesday that Italy was proposing that the European Union should pay Libya to stop migrants leaving its shores for Europe.
Draghi favors the EU offering financial assistance to all African countries involved in migration to Europe, an official in Draghi’s office told Reuters.
But the official denied a report by La Repubblica newspaper that Draghi wanted to propose at a May 24 summit that the EU make a deal similar to one reached with Ankara in 2016, under which Turkey is entitled to financial aid in exchange for hosting refugees who try to reach Europe via the Balkans.
“At the moment there is no initiative regarding creating a similar deal to what was done with Turkey,” the official said.
“The government’s position is that the EU must pay more attention to the situation in the southern Mediterranean and be ready to offer financial help to all African countries involved in migrant flows.”
Some 13,000 migrants have landed on Italy’s coast this year, about three times as many as in the same period last year, according to interior ministry data.
More than 2,000 have since Sunday reached the island of Lampedusa, the initial arrival point for many people trying to get to Europe from Africa.
The migrants, arriving on small and perilous boats run by people-traffickers, are being transferred elsewhere in Italy.
The vast majority of African migrants heading for Europe by sea depart from Libya.
In 2019, Rome agreed a plan with other European states to redistribute migrants after they arrived, but the scheme was voluntary and has not provided a stable solution.
On Tuesday, the executive European Commission said it had received no offers from member states to accept migrants from Italy.
The migration issue has fueled the rise of anti-immigration parties across Europe. In Italy, the right-wing League is part of Draghi’s national unity government and wants action.


Spanish rally outside Israeli Embassy in Madrid

Spanish rally outside Israeli Embassy in Madrid
Updated 11 May 2021

Spanish rally outside Israeli Embassy in Madrid

Spanish rally outside Israeli Embassy in Madrid
  • Most of the crowd on Tuesday in Madrid waved Palestinian flags and shouted “Israel, assassin of the Palestinian people”
  • Protestors wore face masks as stipulated by Spanish health laws to fight pandemic

MADRID: A few dozen people have gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in the Spanish capital to protest Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians.
Most of the crowd on Tuesday in Madrid waved Palestinian flags. They shouted “Israel, assassin of the Palestinian people” and “it’s Palestine, not Israel” in Spanish.
Some held up photos of Palestinians being arrested by Israeli forces. All wore face masks as stipulated by Spanish health laws to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The escalation in the conflict was sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem.


Greek islands to get accelerated vaccination program

Greek islands to get accelerated vaccination program
Updated 11 May 2021

Greek islands to get accelerated vaccination program

Greek islands to get accelerated vaccination program
  • Priority for age groups and medical vulnerability waived in favour of permanent residents of nearly 100 islands
  • Islanders make up around 1.5 million of Greece’s population of 10.7 million

NAXOS, Greece: A vaccination program for Greek islands is being accelerated to cover all local residents by the end of June, the government announced Tuesday ahead of the launch of the tourism season.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said a nationwide priority system for age groups and medical vulnerability was being waived for permanent residents of nearly 100 islands.
“This initiative is aimed at supporting local island communities and their economy and it also aspires to send a positive overall message for our tourism,” Mitsotakis said.
Greece is fighting to revive its key tourism sector that was battered by the pandemic in 2020 but its vaccination rates remain below the European Union average and the country has only recently stabilized a surge in cases.
Islanders make up around 1.5 million of Greece’s population of 10.7 million. Many holiday islands have a year-round population of under 10,000, while Crete has the largest with more than 600,000 residents, followed by Evia, Rhodes, Corfu, Lesbos, and Chios. The tourism season will officially start Friday.


Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
Updated 11 May 2021

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
  • Sweden of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217
  • The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks

STOCKHOLM: Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 13,812 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.
The figure compared with 14,950 cases during the corresponding period last week.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217.
The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors’ but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.


At least 9 dead in Russian high school shooting

At least 9 dead in Russian high school shooting
Updated 11 May 2021

At least 9 dead in Russian high school shooting

At least 9 dead in Russian high school shooting
  • RIA Novosti news agency reported that a teenager was detained
  • Local officials said some children were evacuated from the school but others still remained in the building

MOSCOW: A school shooting erupted Tuesday in the Russian city of Kazan, leaving eight students and one teacher dead, Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing local emergency services.
According to the Interfax news agency, two gunmen opened fire in the school, and one of them — a 17-year-old — has already been apprehended.

“According to preliminary information, the second attacker in the school in Kazan who remained in the building was killed,” the TASS state news agency reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Local officials said some children were evacuated from the school but others still remained in the building. Authorities said additional security measures have been put into place in all schools in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan region, roughly 700 kilometers (430 miles) east of Moscow.
While school shootings are relatively rare in Russia, there have been several violent attacks on schools in recent years, mostly carried out by students.