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China refuses top human rights official access to Uighur Muslim 're-education' camps 

'I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uighur minority,' sys German human rights commissioner Barbel Kofler 


China has blocked a leading human rights official from visiting the “re-education camps” which hold as many as one million Uighur Muslims. Barbel Kofler, the German human rights commissioner, had planned to travel to the heavily-policed northwestern region of Xinjiang to observe the country’s treatment of the minority group. It follows reports that the Chinese government has extended state surveillance into the homes of Uighur families as part of what it claims is a clampdown on religious extremism and terrorism. “I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uighur minority,” Ms Kofler said in a statement. “Unfortunately, my request to travel to Xinjiang was refused. “I would have liked to have gained a first-hand impression of the situation there and will continue to push for permission to visit Xinjiang soon.” The UN‘s top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, is also seeking access to the region to verify reports of conditions in the camps. “We have been asking for direct access to the region to be able to check and verify the worrying reports we are receiving,” Ms Bachelet told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday. Read more How China sends state spies to live in Uighur Muslim homes Former inmates and monitoring groups say those interned in the camps are subjected to prison-like conditions and forced to renounce their religion and cultural background while swearing loyalty to Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping. The state has also imposed an increasingly strict security regime in the region since 2017, including armed checkpoints and streets lined with facial recognition-equipped CCTV. Authorities in one city, Hami, ordered Uighurs to hand themselves in if they followed “problematic” Islamic practices such as abstention from alcohol. China has responded to increasing international concern by warning foreign ambassadors not to “interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.” The government’s refusal to allow Ms Kofler to visit the region means she will instead spend two days in Tibet on 6 and 7 December. Ms Kofler is due to chair talks with her Chinese counterparts in Lhasa about the human rights situation following reports of excessive controls, restrictions on religious freedom and punishment of relatives for the crimes of family members. Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds Tibet had been largely independent before communist forces invaded in 1950 and China responded to riots and protests in 2008 with a deadly crackdown before accusing the Dalai Lama of orchestrating an uprising. China has also extended its campaign against Muslims and other religious minorities to other provinces such as Gansu, where authorities shut down a school teaching Arabic. “I am deeply concerned about the human rights situation in China,” said Ms Kofler. “It has become even more serious in recent years. This is particularly affecting the critical voices in civil society – human rights lawyers, journalists and bloggers. World news in pictures Show all 50 5 December 2018 4 December 2018 3 December 2018 2 December 2018 “I believe it is important for a regular, close and direct exchange with the Chinese Government to take place. That is the only way that we will be in a position to openly discuss issues on which we disagree.” The two countries last held human rights talks in Germany in 2016, after China cancelled the scheduled dialogue in 2017. Additional reporting by Associated Press MORE ABOUT CHINA UIGHUR MUSLIMS XI JINGPING HUMAN RIGHTS GERMANY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM TIBET XINJIANG LHASA UNITED NATIONS UN Reuse content by TaboolaSponsored LinksPromoted stories The Hidden Solar Panels That Changed Watches CNN International for Citizen Watch U.S. President Wedding Moments Before They Were In The White House Trendchaser Language expert shares the secret to learning a language in 15 mins a day Babbel Will You Build The Most Beautiful City? Forge of Empires - Free Online Game This $99 Drone Is The Most Incredible Invention of 2018 Drone XPro New Site Finds the Cheapest Flights in Seconds! FlightFinder 15 Most Powerful Fat Burning Fruits Food World Blog 7 Home Remedies for Natural Colon Cleansing Active Feel The Top 10 Ugliest Cars Ever Made: According To You TopCars Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues Learn more Join the discussion Newest first Oldest first Most liked Least liked Loading comments... 

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