US ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of systematic rape in Xinjiang camps

US 'deeply disturbed' by reports of systematic rape in Xinjiang camps
An elderly Chinese man looks at map of Chinese showing its different ethnic groups and the slogan "Ethnic Unity" in Beijing, China. File photo. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The US government is “deeply disturbed” by reports of systematic sexual torture and rape of women detained in China’s Xinjiang camps for ethnic Uighur and other Muslims and demanded serious consequences.

The US state department was responding to a BBC report, which was published on Wednesday, detailing horrific allegations sexual abuse, rape and torture, based on interviews with several former detainees and a guard.

The interviewees told the BBC that “they experienced or saw evidence of an organised system of mass rape, sexual abuse and torture”.

A US state department spokesperson said: “We are deeply disturbed by reports, including first-hand testimony, of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.”

“These atrocities shock the conscience and must be met with serious consequences,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson demanded China allow “immediate and independent investigations by international observers” into the allegations of rape “in addition to the other atrocities being committed in Xinjiang.”

In its report, the BBC said it was unable to independently verify the women’s stories, which included horrific accounts of sexual assault and torture, and the forcing of some women to strip and handcuff others before they were left alone with Han men.

However, travel documents and key details matched timelines and available satellite imagery, and corresponded with numerous other accounts from former detainees.

Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign affairs minister, echoed the United State’s calls for international observers, including the UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, “to be given immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity,” she said.

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