Nordic, Baltic countries 'gravely concerned' over situation in Xinjiang

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The Estonian and UN flags. Source: Marko Mumm / Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The eight Nordic and Baltic countries issued a joint statement which said they are "gravely concerned" about the situation of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, China.

The statement was presented at a United Nations high-level virtual event on the situation of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang on Wednesday on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

The countries highlighted the so-called "political re-education" camps and "efforts to severely restrict the right to freedom of religion or belief, expression, peaceful assembly and association and the freedoms of movement".

The statement said: "We deplore the widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs and other individuals belonging to minority groups. We raise our deep concerns about the information brought forward in evidence-based reports, including of forced labor, forced use of birth control, sexual abuse and forced sterilizations."

The countries also called for journalists and other media workers to be allowed to cover the issue "without surveillance, censorship or fear of retribution" and said China should give the UN "unfitted access" to visit the region.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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