UN rights chief says China committing violations in Xinjiang, Tibet

FILE PHOTO: Turk UN High Commissioner for Human Rights attends the Conference Human Rights 75 in Geneva,

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk on Monday called on China to implement recommendations to amend laws that violate fundamental rights, including in the Xinjiang and Tibet regions.

Rights groups accuse Beijing of widespread abuses of Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority that numbers around 10 million in the western region of Xinjiang, including the mass use of forced labour in camps. Beijing vigorously denies any abuses.

"I also call on the government to implement the recommendations made by my Office and other human rights bodies in relation to laws, policies and practises that violate fundamental rights, including in the Xinjiang and Tibet regions," Turk told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

China's diplomatic mission in Geneva did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China seized control of Tibet in 1950 in what it describes as a "peaceful liberation" from feudalistic serfdom. International human rights groups and exiles, however, have routinely condemned what they call China's oppressive rule in Tibetan areas.

Turk, who said his office was engaged in "dialogue" with Beijing, also called for the release of human rights defenders, lawyers and other people detained for "picking quarrels and making trouble".

A report released in August 2022 by Michelle Bachelet, then U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, hours before she ended her mandate, found that China's detention of Uyghurs and other Muslims may constitute crimes against humanity.

(This story has been refiled to fix a typographical error in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alex Richardson)