Paris, March 10, 2021 (AFP) – – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday that the “forced sterilizations” and “massive detentions” of Uighurs in Chinese camps were “certified,” which Beijing denies.
“Forced sterilizations, sexual abuse in camps, disappearances, mass detentions, forced labour, destruction of cultural heritage, starting with places of worship, the supervision of the population, all this is attested,” he told the Senate.
According to studies by American and Australian institutes, at least one million Uighurs, a Turk-speaking and predominantly Muslim minority, have been interned in “camps” in Xinjiang (northwest).
Chinese authorities say they have built “professional training centres” to help people and keep them away from extremism in the region under heavy surveillance after Islamist attacks.
The head of French diplomacy once again called for “an impartial, independent and transparent mission of international experts to visit Xinjiang as soon as possible under the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet”.
He also called for “greater vigilance” for French companies in the face of the risks of “serious violations of the fundamental rights” of Uighurs in the Chinese factories that employ them.
France “intends to uphold” China’s commitment to the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention against forced labour when the controversial investment agreement with the EU was concluded in December, Jean-Yves Le Drian insisted.
On 24 February, the French minister denounced China’s “institutionalized system of repression” against Uighur Muslims during an address to the UN Human Rights Coucil.