Rights groups urge UN to press China over Uighur detentions

The groups are calling to end the mass detentions in Xinjiang

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Police patrolling in front of a mosque in Xinjiang

Police patrolling in front of a mosque in Xinjiang (By Associated Press)

GENEVA (AP) — Some leading advocacy groups are calling on the United Nations to take action to help prod the Chinese government to end the "mass detentions" of Muslim Uighurs in western China.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other groups have appealed to the Human Rights Council — the top U.N. human rights body — to launch an "international fact-finding mission" in the western Xinjiang region where such detentions have occurred.

The appeal comes as China's human rights record is expected to come up for discussion at the next council session, from Feb. 25 to March 22.

China is among the council's 47 member states.

The rights groups say a number of U.N. rights officials and experts have been denied repeated requests for access to Xinjiang.