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2021.02.17 14:46

Lithuanian parliament drafts resolution on Uighur persecution in China

BNS2021.02.17 14:46

On Wednesday, the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and national security agreed to draft a resolution on the persecution of Uighurs in China.

In the resolution, the Lithuanian parliament is calling for a UN investigation “or another independent international legal investigation into the ongoing crimes in Xinjiang [province]", Dovilė Šakalienė, a Social Democratic MP, said when presenting the bill during the joint committee sitting.

"In response the growing amount of information from international investigations on increasingly more serious and wider violations of human rights in China, and as we see steps of the international community, for example, strong statements from Mike Pompeo, the former state secretary of our strategic partner, the United States, and from Antony Blinken, the incumbent state secretary, on Uighurs' genocide, we cannot continue business as usual and we must respond," she added.

After the initiative received joint backing, lawmakers are being invited to present their comments. The bill should be drafted by the start of the parliament's spring session on March 10.

Šakalienė, who is a co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), initiated the draft resolution with colleagues following a BBC World News reports in early February on the torture and sexual violence against Uighur women at Chinese camps.

Read more: Forced labour behind Chinese facemasks in Lithuania – investigation

Human rights groups say at least one millions of Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are imprisoned at the so-called re-education camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. China is also being accused of forcible sterilisation of Uighur women.

Beijing initially denied the existence of such camps but now calls them vocational training centres aimed at fighting radicalism and separatism tendencies among Muslims, claiming that people are voluntarily receiving education and better employment possibilities there.

China has been pressed by both the former and the incumbent US administration regarding its treatment of Uighurs and Tibetans, as well as on the Hong Kong issue.