Ambassadors condemn Chinas treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang

At least one million people are detained in so-called training centres in China's Xinjiang province according to the UN

The joint letter was sent by ambassadors from 22 countries across Asia Pacific, Western and Eastern Europe and North America.

However, the joint letter carries less diplomatic weight than a formal statement read out at the council, or a United Nations resolution submitted for a vote.

"Governments are increasingly recognizing the suffering of millions of people in Xinjiang, with families torn apart and living in fear, and a Chinese state that believes it can commit mass violations uncontested", Fisher said. "The idea of a resolution was never on the cards".

Activists had sought a formal resolution at the Council, but some analysts say the move was the only available option to spotlight the Uighur plight at the forum. "It is a signal".

The joint statement comes as the Xinjiang region marks the tenth year since the eruption of ethnic clashes that killed about 200 people.

The authors, who include ambassadors from across the European Union as well as Switzerland, requested that the letter become an official document of the Human Rights Council, which ends its 41st session in Geneva on Friday.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with resolutely opposed to this".

"The Chinese side expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition", Geng said, adding that China had registered "solemn complaints" with the countries involved.

It pointedly cites China's obligations as a member of the 47-member state forum to maintain the highest standards.

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"We call on China to uphold its national laws and worldwide obligations and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief in Xinjiang and across China", the letter says.

China is estimated to have arbitrarily detained up to 1 million Muslims in Xinjiang.

They urged China to allow global independent experts, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, proper access to Xinjiang.

Bachelet, a former president of Chile, has pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has requested a fact-finding mission to Xinjiang and China has extended an open invitation for her to visit the region. According to the U.N., the United States, and independent assessments, China has forced between almost one and two million Muslim minorities into the detention facilities, known as mind-transformation or re-education camps.

No Western delegation was willing to take the lead and expose itself as a "ringleader" through a joint statement or resolution, diplomats said.

The detentions are created to eradicate their religious and ethnic identities, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing diplomats and letters.

China denies widespread abuse in the detention centers and calls them training schools aimed to combat extremism and provide employable skills.

Beijing has said the centers are necessary to steer people away from religious extremism, terrorism, and separatism.

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