U.N. Labor Organization Quietly Visits Uyghur Homeland Amidst Ongoing Uyghur Genocide


Uyghur Times, Sep. 4, 2023

Nikkei Asia Reported that In a discreet visit to so-called Xinjiang (Uyghuristan) last week, a delegation from the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) engaged in discussions with the region’s Communist Party chief, Ma Xingrui. The ILO visit marks its first known engagement in the midst of allegations concerning widespread labor rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs, garnering global criticism of China’s policies.

Ma Xingrui, the current executor of the Uyghur genocide, took the opportunity to continue his lies, asserting that “reckless accusations” of rights violations should be countered. He hoped the ILO delegation would adopt a “fair and objective attitude” in their evaluation.

“Some anti-China forces in the United States and other Western countries have ignored Xinjiang’s great efforts to protect human rights and workers’ legitimate rights and interests,” Ma emphasized. “[They] spread rumors about so-called ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang, smearing labor and employment security work and using this as an excuse to impose sanctions on Xinjiang.”

The ILO confirmed the mission, highlighting its focus on “technical discussions about the implementation in China’s laws and practice of ratified international labor conventions concerning discrimination in employment and occupation, as well as forced labor.” Further details regarding the visit’s agenda, attendees, and specific dates were not disclosed. The spokesperson clarified that these conventions on employment discrimination and forced labor came into effect in China on August 12, following ratification.

Uyghur rights activists, however, were unaware of the meeting, expressing concerns that such visits could inadvertently aid the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda. Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, stated, “Although well-intended, such visits do not help improve the situation. It gives the CCP the chance to whitewash their crimes and promote their propaganda messaging.”

This meeting coincided with the one-year publication anniversary of the U.N. Human Rights Report on China’s repressive policies against Uyghurs, which has drawn global attention. Critics estimate that millions have been arbitrarily detained, with some subjected to forced sterilization, pervasive state surveillance, and forced labor transfer programs.

Despite these findings, Volker Turk, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has not initiated follow-up action since taking office in October. China continues to deny the allegations, asserting that its policies aim to combat religious extremism and terrorism.

In the midst of these developments, the U.S.-China relationship remains tense, with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) enacted in June 2022 to counter Uyghur forced labor and ongoing genocide. This law is designed to halt the importation of goods from so-called Xinjiang (Uyghurstan) into the United States, resulting in the detention of over $13 million worth of apparel, footwear, and textiles by U.S. Customs.

The situation in the Uyghur homeland remains a critical issue on the international stage as both sides grapple with accusations and counterclaims concerning labor rights and human rights abuses.

Uyghur Times

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