Geneva - The international community needs to exert more efforts to curb racist practices targeting minorities in countries around the world, said the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, noting that the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to highlight racist practices against minorities and renew the call for action against such practices.
The Muslim minority in China's eastern province of Xinjiang has been subjected to systematic racist campaigns led by the Chinese authorities on a religious basis, added the nonprofit watchdog. The Chinese authorities have enacted some 30 laws aimed at restricting Muslims’ freedom of belief.
In addition, the Chinese authorities have carried out mass arrests targeting nearly one million Uighurs under the pretext of what the authorities call combating extremism.
The Uighurs have been imprisoned in collective detention centers where they have been subjected to systematic human rights violations, forcing them to change their religious beliefs and commit acts that are forbidden by Islam, such as eating pork mean and drinking alcohol.
The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar suffer from campaigns of systematic racial discrimination. Authorities are conducting an ethnic cleansing campaign against them in the Arakan region, during which they have been subjected to genocide and displacement led by generals in the Myanmar army as well as extremist Buddhist groups.
Euro-Med Monitor noted that the crimes against the Muslim minority in the Arakan region included burning houses, killing and raping women since 2017, which resulted in the displacement of 826,000 Muslims to Bangladesh, where they suffer from very poor living conditions.
The oppression of Muslims in Myanmar and China is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which clearly guarantees the freedom of individuals to profess any religious and non-religious beliefs, and is in violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” said Sarah Pritchett, Euro-Med’s spokeswoman.
The rise of radical racist discourse led by right-wing European parties against Muslim minorities in Europe has already started to have its toll on Muslims by feeding a negative image of Muslims and promoting Islamophobia.
The populist discourse against Muslims and immigrants in Europe has become a real threat to the lives of Muslims in European countries, as recently seen in New Zealand on March 15, 2019, where 50 Muslims were shot by armed gunmen who broke into two mosques and killed the Muslim worshipers in Christchurch.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls on the United Nations and the European Union and their respective institutions to exert more efforts and work towards the enactment of laws to curb racist practices targeting minorities in the world and to hold accountable the perpetrators of racist crimes in the International Criminal Court and the competent local courts.