[JURIST] Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC], the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture [official website], told reporters Thursday that he is currently investigating allegations raised by the Falun Gong spiritual group [Wikipedia backgrounder], banned by the Chinese government, that thousands of its followers were being held in a Chinese "concentration camp" to be killed for organ-harvesting purposes. The Falun Gong allegations [Epoch Times report; WOIPFG report] are based on information provided by a former Chinese journalist, who says that these government camps, located in the Sujiatun district of the northern city of Shenyang, employed many doctors and housed a crematorium. AP has more.
Nowak also said Thursday that he intends to visit Russia, and specifically the province of Chechnya [JURIST news archive], in either September or October of this year, noting that "there are very, very serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment" in the region. The visit to the war-torn region, where over 100,000 Russian troops are currently posted, will be the first by a UN envoy in at least a decade. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [official website] adopted a resolution [text] in January condemning the human rights situation in Chechnya [JURIST report], citing numerous cases of murder, disappearances, torture, and other human rights abuses [JURIST report]. AP has more.