Sweden announced Monday that it will grant refugee status to Uighur Turks coming from China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region as well as any other Muslim minority group members.
Posting the announcement on its webpage, the Swedish Migration Board said it will view asylum-seekers coming from the region as refugees.
It added that applications of those people would be accepted directly and they would not be deported.
Citing a UNHRC report which said over a million Uighur are being held in camps in China, the board also touched on a Human Rights Watch report decrying bans on practicing Islam in Xinjiang.
Ahmed Tursun, deputy head of the Sweden Uighur Maarif Foundation, told Anadolu Agency that they welcomed the decision and hoped it would set an example for other Western countries.
China’s Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighur. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious, and economic discrimination.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.
In the report last September, Human Rights Watch accused the Chinese government of a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
According to a 117-page report, the Chinese government conducted “mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment” of Uighur Turks in the region.