A US-based NGO on Friday said that there were credible reports of Muslim re-education centres in China’s Xinjiang region where custodial deaths and torture were taking place.
"Credible reports of deaths in custody, torture, and systemic political indoctrination must propel the international community into action on behalf of the Uyghurs," the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project said in a statement.
Recently, China denied the existence of these centres to the US which, as reported by civil organisations, hold up to 1 million Uyghurs, a Chinese Muslim ethnic minority living in Xinjiang.
"The mass internment of Uyghurs in camps across the region is occurring as the Chinese government promotes itself globally as a model of governance and trade through the Belt and (New Silk) Road Initiative," UHRP said.
The non-profit added that "timing is key in human rights interventions to ensure the collective long-term welfare of vulnerable groups, and the time to publicly seek accountability from China regarding the mass-internment of Uyghurs is now".
It urged the international community to demand Beijing to immediately release all detainees being held without charges in the internment camps and called on the UN to use the Universal Periodic Review of China in November 2018.
In addition, it suggested adopting the "Global Magnitsky Act" under which Chinese officials complicit in human rights violations will be punished and demanded an end to the forced return of Uyghurs from abroad under pressure from the Chinese government.
It is estimated that there are some 23 million Muslims living in China, approximately 1.7 per cent of the population, including ethnic minorities such as the Hui (scattered throughout the country) or others linked to the peoples of Central Asia such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz or Tajik.>