The U.N. 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 records came under review by the 18-member monitoring group during its latest session.
The committee said it is deeply concerned about the reported detention of people with disabilities from Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in so-called vocational education and training centers in China. It said their special needs are not being met and urges China to release them and meet all their disability-related needs while in detention.
The United Nations, human rights groups and many governments have sharply criticized China’s forcible internment of more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang province, accusations China vigorously denies.
Committee member Risnawati Utami said a Chinese government delegation did not agree with the committee’s observations and conclusions.
“There is denial of some recommendations,” Utami said. “But, again, we work on the consensus with our committee based on the reporting that we have. … So, basically, we are trying to state what we have in the concluding observations and hope that the Chinese government will accept our concluding observations without any reservations.”
The committee held a special session about people with disabilities in Ukraine. Vice chair of the committee Jonas Ruskus said the panel heard testimony that people trapped in conflict zones had been denied evacuation and access to basic services. He said at least 12 disabled people reportedly had died in residential institutions.
“We received information that persons with disabilities, they are in institutions in territories under control of Russian Federation,” Ruskus said. “They have been kept in inhuman conditions, subjected to ill treatment and used as human shields by Russian Federation armed forces.”
Ruskus said the committee also has received reports about persons with disabilities who have been forcibly transferred to the Russian Federation or to territories under Russian control.
The committee is urging both Ukraine and Russia to immediately evacuate people with disabilities who are institutionalized in conflict zones in Ukrainian territory under their respective control.