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Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini
The EU is closely following the situation in Xinjiang.
We are deeply concerned by credible reports pointing to a serious deterioration of the human rights situation there. In addition, the recent Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) merits close attention. This expresses alarm about reports of mass detentions in political "re-education camps" affecting Uighurs and other minorities; of mass surveillance; of restrictions on travel; and of Uighurs abroad being returned to China involuntarily.
These findings present serious grounds for concern. The EU calls on China to engage constructively with the Committee [on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination]'s recommendations.
We have received accounts from EU citizens of Uyghur origin in the EU who report being pressurised to return to China or to provide information about their relatives. Travel documents of family members in China have reportedly been confiscated, or not issued, to prevent people from leaving.
There are legitimate concerns about the security of Uighurs and other people belonging to minorities if returned to China. The EU urges all countries to consider carefully requests for international protection from such people, and, where applicable, to ensure respect of the non-refoulement principle.
The EU has repeatedly raised these concerns with the authorities. During the latest EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in July 2018, the situation in Xinjiang, freedom of religion and belief, and the rights of persons belonging to minorities, especially Tibetans and Uighurs, were addressed. The EU reiterated its request for fact-finding visits to Xinjiang, including access to the camps, and the need to implement recommendations from international human rights bodies.
The EU supports the request made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for her Office to have access to all regions of the country.
Respect of fundamental human rights entails that all human rights - including freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and association, right to due process and right to non-discrimination - are respected in Xinjiang, as they should be anywhere in the country, in line with China's international obligations and national legislation. The upcoming Universal Periodic Review provides an opportunity for open dialogue between China and its international partners on the full range of human rights issues.
Link to the video: https://europa.eu/!WM96NN