Israel declines to sign UN statement on China’s treatment of Uyghurs
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Israel declines to sign UN statement on China’s treatment of Uyghurs

The U.N. statement calls on China to 'ensure full respect for the rule of law and to comply with its obligations under national and international law'

A member of the Muslim Uighur minority holds a child in her arms as she demonstrates in front of the Chinese consulate on December 30, 2020, in Istanbul, to ask for news of her relatives and to express her concern after China announced the ratification of an extradition treaty with Turkey. - The Chinese parliament ratified on December 26, 2020 an extradition treaty signed in 2017 with Ankara, a text that Beijing wants to use in particular to speed up the return of certain Muslim Uyghurs suspected of "terrorism" and who are refugees in Turkey. But the head of Turkish diplomacy said on December 30, 2020 that Ankara was not going to return Muslim Uyghurs to China, despite Beijing's ratification of an extradition treaty that worries the 50,000 members of this community who have taken refuge in the country. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP) (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)
A member of the Muslim Uighur minority holds a child in her arms as she demonstrates in front of the Chinese consulate on December 30, 2020, in Istanbul, to ask for news of her relatives and to express her concern after China announced the ratification of an extradition treaty with Turkey. - The Chinese parliament ratified on December 26, 2020 an extradition treaty signed in 2017 with Ankara, a text that Beijing wants to use in particular to speed up the return of certain Muslim Uyghurs suspected of "terrorism" and who are refugees in Turkey. But the head of Turkish diplomacy said on December 30, 2020 that Ankara was not going to return Muslim Uyghurs to China, despite Beijing's ratification of an extradition treaty that worries the 50,000 members of this community who have taken refuge in the country. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP) (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel chose not to sign a United Nations statement expressing concern about welfare of the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group in China that has been forced into “re-education camps,” which some have likened to concentration camps.

While the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia were among the group of 43 countries that signed the statement last week, an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel that the Israeli government had “other interests that it has to balance” in its relationship with China.

The two nations have grown closer over trade ties in recent years.

The U.N. statement calls on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law and to comply with its obligations under national and international law with regard to the protection of human rights.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry told The Times of Israel in a statement: “Israel expresses its concerns about the Uyghurs in various diplomatic tracks. One example of this was our signing onto the Canadian statement [on the Uyghurs] in June at the Human Rights Council. Our position on the issue has not changed.”

Concern over China’s treatment of the Uighur minority — and comparisons of its “re-education camps” to concentration camps during the Holocaust — have been growing within the global Jewish community for years. Activists in the United States have tried to mobilise the Jewish community behind the Uyghurs’ cause as in the case of the genocide in Darfur in the early 2000s, while British Jews have led the fight against the abuses of the Uyghurs in the United Kingdom.

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