Religious freedom advocacy CSW has joined more than 15 other organisations in calling for the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate claims of arbitrary mass detentions in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in north-east China.

The statement, which was also signed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, said that according to reports from UN officials, human rights organisations and journalists, those detained in what China calls "political education" camps in the region are subjected to "forced political indoctrination, renunciation of their faith, mistreatment, and in some cases torture".

It said that while the Chinese Government has claimed its campaign in Xinjiang is targeting extremism and terrorism, "the seeming objective of this sweeping crackdown is to eradicate Muslim's distinct identity and to ensure their loyalty to the government and Chinese Communist Party".

The statement said an international fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council is needed to "uncover the truth" and pointed out that China's membership of the HRC "obliges it to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights".

Mervyn Thomas, CSW’s chief executive said calls for a UN investigation "are becoming increasingly louder and more widespread".

"The strength of the evidence leaves no doubt that mass detentions are taking place in Xinjiang which violate domestic and international law: this is a human rights crisis happening right now. CSW joins the other signatories to this statement in urging the UN Human Rights Council to urgently adopt a resolution to investigate and uncover the truth, and take appropriate next steps.”