UN Raises Concern About Treatment of Disabled in China, Ukraine

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has raised concerns about the treatment of people with disabilities in China and Ukraine. The two countries are among nine whose cases were reviewed by the 18-member monitoring group in its latest session.

The committee expressed deep concern at the reported detention of persons with disabilities belonging to Uighur minorities and other Muslim minorities in so-called vocational education and training centers in China. He said their special needs were not met and urged China to release them and meet all their disability-related needs while in detention.

The United Nations, human rights groups and many governments have strongly criticized China’s forced internment of more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang province, allegations that China vigorously denies.

Committee member Risnawati Utami said a Chinese government delegation disagreed with the committee’s observations and conclusions.

“There is a denial of some recommendations,” Utami said. “But, once again, we are working on consensus with our commission based on the relationships we have. … So basically let’s try to say what we have in the concluding remarks and hope that the Chinese government will accept our concluding remarks without reservation.

The committee held a special session on people with disabilities in Ukraine. Commission vice president Jonas Ruskus said the jury heard testimony that people trapped in conflict zones were denied evacuation and access to basic services. He said at least 12 disabled people are believed to have died in residential institutions.

“We have received information that people with disabilities are in institutions in the territories under the control of the Russian Federation,” said Ruskus. “They were detained in inhumane conditions, subjected to mistreatment and used as human shields by the armed forces of the Russian Federation.

Ruskus said the committee also received information on people with disabilities who have been forcibly transferred to the Russian Federation or Russian-controlled territories.

The committee urges Ukraine and Russia to immediately evacuate persons with disabilities who are institutionalized in conflict areas on Ukrainian territory under their respective control.

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