Uighur advocacy groups have urged the international community to take action against the horrific situation in Xinjiang camps. The appeal was made after a BBC report revealed that the women in camps for Uighurs in China have been systematically raped, sexually abused and tortured.
According to the report which was published on Wednesday, February 3, BBC spoke to the survivors who revealed that they had been subjected to sexual violence and raped by the guards at the camps in Xinjiang for Uighurs, who are a mostly Muslim Turkic minority group,
A former guard also confirmed that he had seen the prisoners subjected to beatings and being tortured using electric shocks but he didn't know anything about rape in the cell areas.
Tursunay Ziawudun, who spent nine months in Xinjiang camp, escaped from China after her release. She told BBC that women were removed from the cells "every night". They were raped by one or more masked Chinese men, said Ziawudun, who is now in the US.
She was a victim too. As per Ziawudun, she was tortured and gang-raped three times—each time by two or three men. Even though it is difficult to confirm whether Ziawudun's story is true or not, her travel documents and immigration records corroborate the timeline of her story, said BBC.
The British news organization also talked to a Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who was detained for 18 months in the camp. According to her, she was forced to strip Uighur women naked and handcuff them before let them being raped by Chinese men.
"My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move. Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter - some Chinese man from outside or policeman. I sat silently next to the door, and when the man left the room, I took the woman for a shower," the woman said.
According to Ziawudun, some of those detained women, who were taken away from their cells, never returned.
Another source said that some women had been tortured by the guards who used to rape them with electrified sticks. As per, Qelbinur Sedik, an Uzbek woman from Xinjiang—who was among the Chinese language teachers brought into the camps—she heard about an electrified stick being inserted into women to torture them.
Silence Is Not the Solution
Nurgul Sawut from the group Campaign for Uighurs told ABC that it would be very difficult for women to recall what they experienced during detention. "For Uighur women, speaking about their rape experience is worse than death. But we have many Uighur sisters [who] put aside their pride and spoke out," she added.
Sawut said that the BBC report is the latest evidence of mass human rights abuse in those camps. She added that the Chinese policemen and camp staff, as well as their methods of conducting sexual abuse and torture towards Uighur women, are consistent. "Their common methods are: gang rape, attacks on Uighur women's dignity and selling Uighurwomen as sex slaves," she added.
However, China has repeatedly denied that it is persecuting Uighur people in Xinjiang. But research suggested that it has been expanding detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.