Speaking during the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday (local time), John Fisher of Human Rights Watch called for an international mechanism to address the sweeping violations by China. He was speaking on behalf of more than 300 NGOs from over 60 countries.
He said, “Recently, a group of 50 UN experts had highlighted China’s mass rights violations in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang by suppression of information and attacks on rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and government critics.”
He further pointed out that China has also targeted defenders abroad, suppressed academic freedom, and engaged in internet censorship and digital surveillance.
“No state should be above the law, China’s turn has come,” Fisher added.
On behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students, Abdulxukur Abdurixit, an Uyghur, said, “Genocide including sterilisation and organ harvesting is being committed against my people. My family has been held hostage in a Chinese concentration camp. My brother is forced to assemble phone chargers as a slave labourer. Your charger may be among them.”
Calling the UN to term the ongoing atrocities in Xinjiang as genocide, Abdurixit said, “The crimes being committed by China in Xinjiang meet the definition of genocide as laid out in the UN genocide convention. Such horrific atrocities necessitate the coordinated response from the UN and the international community. Further, our suffering is met by indifference by corporations who profit by our collective suffering while most governments are turning a blind eye towards our problems.”
“I call pon this council to assign special rapporteur to my region to present a clear body of evidence to the international committee and stop the genocide,” he added.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Lord Tariq Ahmad said, the new security law imposed in Hong Kong was “being implemented with the apparent intention to eliminate dissent.”
“It allows prosecution of certain cases in mainland China, a jurisdiction where defendants are often held for long periods without charge or access to legal counsel, and where we have concerns about judicial independence, due process, and reports of torture,” he said.
Ahmad stressed, “There is compelling evidence in Xinjiang including from the Chinese authorities’ own documents of systematic human rights violations. Culture and religion are severely restricted and we have seen credible reports of forced labour and forced birth control.”
German envoy Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg, on behalf of the EU said, “We reiterate our call on China to allow meaningful access to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for independent observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”
“We also reiterate our call on China to uphold its national and international obligations, and to respect human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet,” he said.
“On China, the EU continues to be gravely concerned about the existence of a large network of political re-education camps, widespread surveillance, and systemic restrictions on freedom of religion or belief against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” he said.
“Extensively researched reports alleging forced labour, and forced sterilisation and forced birth control in Xinjiang add to the gravity and magnitude of these concerns,” he added.
Similarly, Canada’s ambassador Leslie Norton also voiced alarm at “mass arbitrary detention and separation of children from their parents, repressive surveillance, as well as reports of forced labour and forced sterilisation affecting Uyghurs and other minorities” in the region.