Workers walk by the fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education cebtre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

Doha, Qatar – Activists have welcomed Qatar’s decision to withdraw its signature from a letter signed last month by 37 countries expressing support for China’s policies in Xinjiang province, where about one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres, according to United Nations experts.

The Qatari move, which was first reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday, was made on July 18, six days after the text defending China’s human rights record was sent to the UN Human Rights Council.

Several Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt and Kuwait, were among the 37 countries to join in the open

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