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UN Investigator: Modern Slavery Widespread in China

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Edith M. Lederer

United Nations (AP) — United Nations investigators find modern forms of slavery, including forced labor, among the Uyghur minority in China said to be prevalent around the world. , forced labor of the lowest caste Dalits in South Asia, and domestic slavery in the Gulf States, Brazil and Colombia.

Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Tomoya Obokat said traditional enslavement, particularly of minorities, is found in Mauritania, Mali and Niger in the Sahel region of Africa. added.

In his report to the United Nations General Assembly circulated on Wednesday, he said child labor — another form of modern slavery — exists in all parts of the world, including in its worst forms. .

“Four to six percent of children in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas and Europe are said to be engaged in child labor.

His conclusions about Uyghurs in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region follow the U.S. banning imports from the region last December, and many believe that China's ethnic and religious

Obokata's findings were harshly criticized by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the book, Obokata independently assessed the information available from a number of sources, including victims and government accounts, and found that he "strongly identified Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others in areas such as agriculture and manufacturing."

He named two systems that are used - detention of minorities for vocational skills education and training, followed by job placement and thereby poverty alleviation. A labor program that transfers rural surplus workers to other jobs. He said labor migration is also taking place in Tibet, with farmers, nomads and other rural workers being transferred to low-skilled, low-wage jobs.

While these programs can create employment and income, as the government claims, Obokata said the work is often involuntary and workers are subject to excessive oversight. said they were subjected to abusive living and working conditions, restricted movement, intimidation, physical or sexual targeting. Violence and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

"Some cases may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity and deserve further independent analysis," he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin accused Xiaobofang of "choosing to believe the lies and misinformation about Xinjiang disseminated by the United States and other Western countries and anti-China forces."

He also accused Obokata of abusing his powers as a special agent to "defame and slander China and serve as a political tool for anti-Chinese forces." He accused unnamed "forces" of fabricating false information about forced labor "to undermine Xinjiang's prosperity and stability and to contain China's development and revitalization."

"China strongly condemns this," Wang said. "There has never been 'forced labor' in Xinjiang."

said it protects the rights and interests of participating in and "sharing in the dividends of socio-economic progress."

Obokata said minorities were also subject to forced labor in Latin America, pointing to rural areas in Brazil, including the Amazon, and noted that "slavery is a source of environmental destruction such as illegal logging and mining." "It's intricately linked to the economic activity that's causing it." He said most of the victims were poorly educated men of African descent.

The report also mentions two other forms of modern slavery, namely child or forced marriage and sexual slavery.

Child marriage rates have skyrocketed in marginalized communities such as the Roma in southeastern Europe, he said. In parts of the Balkans, half of Roma women aged 20 to her 24 were married before he was 18, but nationally about 10%, he said.

He said that according to official British data, the majority of forced marriage cases were linked to Pakistan, and less so to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Somalia.

In other areas, Boko Haram forces Christian women and girls to convert to Islam and marry, Obokata said. He said 73.8% among Fulfude.

Forced marriages are also a concern in Africa's Congo, Asia's Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Latin America's Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras and Panama, he said.

Sexual slavery, which has been particularly prominent during conflicts and humanitarian crises, Obokata said in 2014 that more than 6,500 of his Yazidi women in Iraq were Muslims. He pointed out that he had been captured by the country's fighters. war with them. Nearly 2,800 Yazidi women and children are currently missing or detained, he said.

In Ethiopia, according to Obokata, minority women in the North Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions are victims of rape, sexual mutilation, and other forms of sexual violence by parties to the conflict. is recieving.

In northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has primarily targeted Christians and moderate Muslims for enslavement, including sexual slavery, he said.

In Myanmar, women from the Rohingya Muslim minority "are subjected to systematic sexual violence by the state's security forces, which may be considered a war crime or a crime against humanity." he said.

Despite the persistence of modern forms of slavery among minorities, Obokata argues that governments, national human rights groups, civil society organizations, communities and other groups are It has played an important role in preventing exploitation."