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U.S.-backed Uyghur exhibit opens in Geneva By Reuters


© Reuters. Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress sets up the display at a United States-backed Uyghur photo exhibit of dozens of people who are missing or alleged to be held in Chinese-run camps in Xinjiang, China in front of the United Nations in Genev


By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.S.-backed Uyghur photo exhibit of dozens of people who are missing or alleged to be held in Chinese-run camps in Xinjiang, China opened in Switzerland on Thursday amid high tensions over human rights between Beijing and Washington.

A “Wall of the Disappeared” features interviews of camp survivors regarding alleged forced sterilization. It is located outside the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council has opened for a month.

Zumretay Arkin, whose uncle was featured in the exhibit, said that it was crucial for them to show faces the statistics. While it’s much easier to ignore numbers, people will be more conscious of the seriousness of the issue if they see faces.

One million Uyghurs, and others from other ethnic groups have been imprisoned in camps China claims are vocational training centres for combating religious extremism. Rights groups say this number is around one million.

According to the World Uyghur Congress, the United States provided a financial grant that will allow the exhibit to travel to Berlin and Brussels. According to people who witnessed it, the U.S. Embassy in Geneva had displayed it earlier this week at a diplomatic reception.

“We are committed to placing human rights at the center of our China policy, and we will continue to highlight the grave human rights abuses we see the PRC committing across China, in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and elsewhere,” a U.S. mission spokesperson said.

China stated that the human right situation in Xinjiang is “pretty great”. The mission spokesperson stated that “some forces are trying to follow their political agenda and slander China” was doomed.

China warned other members states to avoid attending an event about the persecution of Uyghurs, organized by Germany. The United States and Britain called this an insult.

The 47 member States of the Council have been increasingly hostile to China this year. Washington is seeking to be elected and China has retaken a seat.

Jiang Duan, China’s ambassador to Washington, accused Washington in broad remarks of “genocide” of Native Americans as well as “systemic racist” behavior.

The U.S. ambassador Benjamin Moeling responded, saying, “There’s a distinction between countries who have faced immoral acts in their past and tried to improve them”

Michelle Bachelet, the top United Nations rights official raised Xinjiang this week in her opening speech. She lamented that attempts to obtain access to investigation reports about serious violations against Muslim Uyghurs have not been successful.

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