Diplomatic sources said there’s no indication any country would present a U.N. resolution on China, but a U.N. report on Israel’s use of force against rioting Palestinian protestors in Gaza last year is to be issued.
• Saudi Crown Prince defended Beijing: “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security.”
By News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday defended China’s use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing’s “right,” the Telegraph reported.
“China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security,” the crown prince, who is in China signing multi-million trade deals much to the chagrin of his Western allies, told Chinese state television.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, reportedly told Salman the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on deradicalization to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking.”
U.N. experts say the camps hold a million Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language and other Muslims. China has rejected accusations of mistreatment. The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in western China and parts of Central Asia.
Beijing has accused the Uighur minority of supporting terrorism.
Muslim leaders have thus far not broached the issue with China, which has in recent years become an important trading partner with the Middle East.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the first to condemn Beijing, however, describing China’s treatment of its Uighur population as “a great cause of shame for humanity” last month and asking it to close the “concentration camps.”
China, meanwhile, is lobbying hard to thwart scrutiny of the mass detention camps for Uighurs at the U.N. Human Rights Council’s main annual session opening on Monday, diplomats and activists said.
Saudi Arabia will also face criticism for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its failure to cooperate with a U.N.-led inquiry, diplomatic sources said.
And ambassadors from some European countries plan to boycott a speech by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Tuesday, as more countries back opposition leader Juan Guaidó and spurn President Nicolás Maduro, they added.
Western countries will be looking to Turkey and other members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to shine a spotlight on China’s actions.
While the 47-member Council’s resolutions are not binding, all countries work hard to avoid its “naming and shaming.” China is especially sensitive to criticism, which it views as interference.
Activists have urged European and Muslim nations to take the lead in establishing a U.N. investigation into the detentions and what they call “forced indoctrination”.
John Fisher of Human Rights Watch said: “We are encouraged that everybody we speak with shares the concern at China’s sweeping violations in Xinjiang and agrees that China must be held to the same standard as everyone else, that there is a need for collective action and that the time to act is now.”
But diplomatic sources said that there was no sign that any country would present a resolution on China, although delegations were preparing to raise the issue in statements.
Meanwhile, China has failed to block Tibetan and Uighur activists from taking part in the four-week session.
A letter from China’s mission in Geneva, seen by Reuters, urges the United Nations not to allow 15 activists – including the Dalai Lama and Dolkun Isa, president of the exiled World Uighur Congress – to attend. The request was rejected, U.N. sources said.
China is also organizing a photo exhibit at the U.N. in Geneva with some 90 photos, many of smiling Uighurs.
U.N. rights investigators on Iran, Myanmar and North Korea are to present annual reports. Their mandates are expected to be renewed, despite the United States having quit the forum last year over a perceived anti-Israel bias, diplomats said.
A U.N. report on Israel’s use of force against Palestinian protestors in Gaza last year is to be issued, while a U.N. report on a database of companies active in the Gaza Strip may be delayed again, they said.
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