Beijing [China], May 15 (ANI): Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden have issued a joint statement expressing grave concern at the human rights situation of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province.
The statement by these Nordic and Baltic countries, which was delivered by Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN on Wednesday, said, "We are gravely concerned about the information presented in reports and statements on the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region."
The countries also expressed concerned about the reported existence of a large network of so-called "political re-education" camps, where a very high number of people are held in long-term arbitrary detention.
"We are equally concerned by efforts to severely restrict the right to freedom of religion or belief, expression, peaceful assembly and association and the freedoms of movement for Uyghurs and other persons belonging to minority groups, as well as other human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang," the statement read.
They also raised their concerned about the evidence-based reports, including of forced labour, forced use of birth control, sexual abuse and forced sterilizations.
"Human rights, as stipulated in international law and as provided for in China's constitution must be fully ensured for all persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, also in Xinjiang," the statement said.
It further stated that the Nordic and Baltic countries have called on China to allow journalists and other media workers to report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang without surveillance, censorship or fear of retribution.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
Early this year, the United States become the first country in the world to declare the Chinese actions in Xinjiang as "genocide". In February, both the Canadian and Dutch parliaments adopted motions recognising the Uyghur crisis as genocide. The latter became the first parliament in Europe to do so.
In April, the United Kingdom also declared China's ongoing crackdown in Xinjiang as "genocide". (ANI)