UN considers ‘reasonable to conclude’ that there was forced labor in Xinjiang

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It is “reasonable to conclude” that forced labor by members of minority groups has taken place in China’s Xinjiang region, the United Nations’ top expert on slavery said in a report released this week, prompting a fierce response from Beijing. .

The conclusions were “based on an independent assessment of the available information,” the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, said in a report he shared on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

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“The Special Rapporteur considers it reasonable to conclude that forced labor among Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing has taken place in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China,” he said.

China rejects all allegations of abuse of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

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The report, dated 19 July, is publicly available in a UN document library.

Two distinct “state-demanded” systems exist in Xinjiang, the document noted: a vocational skills training and education center system where minorities are “detained and subjected” to work placements, and an alleviation of poverty through a work transfer system involving rural workers.

“While these programs can create employment opportunities for minorities and increase their incomes, as the government claims, the Special Rapporteur considers that indicators of forced labor that point to the involuntary nature of the work provided by affected communities were present in many cases,” he said. the 20-page report, which also covered contemporary issues and concerns related to slavery in other countries.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday reiterated Beijing’s denial that forced labor had ever taken place in Xinjiang, defended China’s record in protecting workers’ rights and strongly criticized the report’s findings.

“A certain special rapporteur prefers to believe lies and misinformation about Xinjiang spread by the United States and some other Western countries and anti-China forces,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing in Beijing. .

Source: CNN Brasil

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