Turkey accuses China over human rights as ‘poet dies’


The Xinjiang region in China houses 10 million Uighurs, and make up 45 percent of the population in the region.

On Saturday, in a rare move from a majority-Muslim power, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on China to close its internment camps for Muslims, saying the camps said to hold a million ethnic Uighurs are a "great shame for humanity".

The social media campaign, launched Tuesday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, follows the release of a state media video showing famed Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who many believed had died in custody. "We hope the relevant Turkish persons can distinguish between right and wrong and correct their mistakes", said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry.

Turkey slammed China for its "systematic assimilation policy towards Uighur Turks", labelling it a "great embarrassment for humanity" while urging Beijing to shut down the "concentration camps".

Uighur Muslims supporters and Turkish nationals burn the Chinese flag in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul on July 5, 2018.

Many Uighurs outside of China have said they are unable to contact relatives still in Xinjiang.

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In Saturday's statement, Turkey called on the global community and the United Nations secretary-general "to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang". The groups urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution establishing an global fact-finding mission to Xinjiang. Turkish media reported that Heyit had been tortured to death in one of the camps.

Naidoo said China must be held accountable for its repressive actions.

The video was not a guarantee that Mr Heyit was in fact alive, he said, adding that the tone, ambiance, undisclosed location and soundproof walls were all hallmarks of coerced and scripted confessions in which the subjects were subjected to threats and even torture.

Numerous UN experts, treaty bodies, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights have expressed grave concern about the situation in Xinjiang and called for unrestricted access to the region. His detention was considered indicative of China's determination to crack down on Uighur intellectuals and cultural figures in an effort some say to eradicate a separate Uighur language and identity. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said he agrees.

"A resolution mandating a fact-finding mission is the bare minimum members of the Human Rights Council should do if they take their obligation to promote human rights seriously".

The Muslim world has been conspicuously quiet on the Uighur issue, possibly to avoid Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation. "We are now looking to the HRC to act - and get to the truth".