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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday extended its support to China’s efforts for socioeconomic development, harmony and peace and stability in Xinjiang following a report of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held Beijing responsible for “serious human rights violations” in Xinjiang province.

“Pakistan has taken note of the release of Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on human rights in Xinjiang,” Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said in response to media queries about the recently-released report.

As a responsible member of the United Nations with strong commitment to multilateralism, the spokesperson added that Pakistan believes in the principles of the UN Charter including respect for political independence, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of states.

“It is our consistent position that non-politicization, universality, objectivity, dialogue and constructive engagement should be the main tools to promote universal respect for human rights…Pakistan supports China’s efforts for socioeconomic development, harmony and peace and stability in Xinjiang,” he added.

He stated that China has succeeded in lifting over 700 million people out of poverty in the last 35 years, “thus improving their living conditions and the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.”

“We appreciate China’s constructive engagement with the UN human rights system, as well as, the OIC General Secretariat, as evidenced by visits of the former High Commissioner for Human Rights and OIC delegation to China,” the spokesperson added.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan abiding commitment to advance all human rights universally in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

The report published on September 1, in the wake of the visit by UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet in May, said: “allegations of patterns of torture, or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.”

In a strongly-worded assessment at the end of the report, OHCHR said: “the extent of arbitrary detentions against Uyghur and others, in context of “restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights, enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”

It maintained that the government policy in recent years in Xinjiang has “led to interlocking patterns of severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights.”

“The systems of arbitrary detention and related patterns of abuse since 2017 come against the backdrop of broader discrimination against Uyghur and other minorities…This has included far-reaching, arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, in violation of international laws and standards,” the report added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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