Washington: An organization for religious freedom based in the US has called on China to end all violence and restrictions on religious activity in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with the start of the holy month of Ramazan.

"Launched in the name of stability and security, Beijing's campaigns of repression against Uyghur Muslims include the targeting of peaceful private gatherings for religious study and devotion," said Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

"These abuses predictably have led to neither stability nor security, but rather instability and insecurity. We urge the government to lift these restrictions, especially with the start of Ramazan," Swett said.

“During the past year, Chinese police and security forces have initiated raids against illegal religious schools in the city of Hotan during which over 60 people were arrested, 17 children injured, and one child died while in police custody,” USCIRF said.

"China's reliance on repression fuels resentment and increases the likelihood of the very extremism that China claims it seeks to quell. For the sake of security as well as religious freedom, China's government should lift its restrictions on all peaceful religious activities" Swett said.

Meanwhile, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) called on the Obama administration to caution Chinese officials regarding the destructive effects of Chinese state policies towards Uyghurs.

"The US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is an opportunity to show China that the United States is not ready to stand down on Uyghur human rights issues," said UAA president Alim Seytoff.

In a statement, UAA urged the Obama Administration to ask Chinese officials to remove tanks, armored vehicles, patrol vehicles and Chinese security forces from streets in East Turkestan.


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