Uighur women stage a march in Istanbul against China camps

BBC report had alleged rape, forced sterilisation of women

Several hundred Muslim Uighur women in Turkey staged an International Women’s Day march along the Bosphorus on Monday demanding the closure of mass incarceration camps in China’s Xinjiang region.

The protesters chanted “stop the genocide” and “close the camps” as they marched within a few hundred metre’s of China’s walled-off consulate in Istanbul.

“Rape is a crime against humanity,” said one poster, in reference to a BBC report alleging systemic rape and forced sterilisation of women at the camps — which China says are vocational training centres designed to counter extremism.

Rights groups believe at least one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps spread out across the vast northwestern region.

Most of the demonstrators held up sky blue flags of Uighur separatists’ self-proclaimed state of East Turkestan. Uighurs speak a Turkic language and have cultural ties with Turkey that make it a favoured destination for avoiding persecution in Xinjiang.

But many in the 500,000-strong community fear that Ankara’s dependence on Chinese investments could jeapordise their future status in Turkey.

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