UN rights chief criticized for not acknowledging oppression of Uyghurs on genocide convention

On the 75th anniversary of the U.N. convention on genocide, the international body’s human rights chief called on the global community to hold perpetrators accountable, but was slammed for failing to condemn the situation facing Uyghurs in north-western China.

Volker Turk, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement: “It is always the culmination of preceding and identifiable patterns of systematic discrimination – based on race, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics – and of gross human rights violations, targeted as a matter of policy against a people; minority; community.”

In the statement, Turk referenced past examples of genocide, including during the Holocaust, and in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia.

Those who monitor the Uyghur situation in China’s Xinjiang – many of whom say genocide is occurring in the region – took to social media on Tuesday to voice disappointment that Turk did not mention Xinjiang at all, despite what they call obvious warning signs, dismissing his statement as ‘useless’ and ‘hypocritical.’

At least 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities are believed to have been held in a network of detention camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region since 2017.

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