International institute to conduct study on reports of alleged rights violations against Uighurs in China
KUALA LUMPUR (AA) — The Malaysian government has appointed an international institute to conduct a study on alleged human rights violations committed against China’s Uighur Muslim population.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) has been tasked with writing a detailed report on the situation of Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province.
“Malaysia will neither blindly support any reports provided by the Chinese government nor openly criticize China,” Abdullah told reporters according to Malaysia-based English language newspaper the New Straits Times.
“We want to ensure the truth behind each and every report that we receive about the incidents there,” he added.
China’s western Xinjiang region is home to 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
China is accused of carrying out repressive policies against the Uighurs and restraining religious, commercial and cultural rights.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.
In a report last September, Human Rights Watch accused China of carrying out a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
China denies the charges, claiming Uighurs are being educated in “vocational training centers.”