Translation of an Uyghur News Agency article
The United Nations has released a report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, mentioning the Chinese government’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic people. According to the report, Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to forced labor and crimes against humanity.
This report breaks the history of silence at the United Nations about the human rights situation of Uyghurs. It is the first time that the most authoritative body in the world has accused China of enslaving Uyghurs and committing crimes against humanity.
In 2018, the UN acknowledged for the first time that China has arbitrarily detained more than 1 million Uyghurs in internment camps.
Human rights researcher Adrian Zenz told the Uyghur News Agency: “This is a special moment for me and many others. The outcome of this report is the result of years of hard work on this topic. It is a significant sign for the Uyghurs that international, independent agencies bring these crimes to light. It is an important step forward, especially after years of failure by the United Nations on the Uyghur issue. This report is a unique and powerful assessment from the United Nations about modern-day slavery. I am proud that this report uses my comments on the conceptual framework of Shanghai forced labor”, Zenz continues.
The Special Rapporteur regards it as reasonable to conclude that forced labor among Uighur, Kazakh, and other ethnic minorities has been occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”, Zenz tweets.
“The Special Rapporteur considers that indicators of forced labor pointing to the involuntary nature of work rendered by affected communities have been present in many cases [refers to ILO indicators] some instances may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity.”
“Similar arrangements have also been identified in the Tibet Autonomous Region, where an extensive labor transfer program has shifted mainly farmers, herders and other rural workers into low-skilled and low-paid employment.”
Regarding Xinjiang, the report notes that “some instances [of forced labor] may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity, meriting a further independent analysis, which likely refers to internment camp-linked forced labor which can create such conditions.
A report on contemporary forms of modern slavery worldwide is a significant assessment from the UN special rapporteur, published for the 51st HRC session.
I am honored to see that the report adopts my conceptual framing of Xinjiang forced labor: “Two distinct State-mandated systems exist: (a) the vocational skills education and training center system and (b) the poverty alleviation through labor transfer system.”
“The report’s timing – only four days after China ratified two ILO conventions (29 and 105) against forced labor – is rather delicate! ‘Convention 105’, in particular, is designed to counter state-sponsored forced labor, forbidding its use for political aims and economic development”, Zenz concludes.