UN: Growing international concern must translate into concrete action on crimes against humanity committed by China in Xinjiang
UPDATE (June 28, 2021): Following the initial declaration shared by Canada at the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 22, two more states (Nauru and Ukraine) signed, bearing the total at 45. The original text has been updated to reflect this.
Statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva by an interregional group of 45 states “gravely concerned” about China’s grave human rights violations in Xinjiang must pave the way for concrete action Amnesty International said today, reiterating its call. for an independent international investigation into serious human rights violations in that country.
âThis important statement made by Canada on behalf of 45 countries is a welcome reflection of the growing international concern over the evidence of crimes against humanity committed in Xinjiang. This sends a crucial message to the Chinese authorities that they are not above international scrutiny, âsaid AgnÃ¨s Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
âThese states must now move beyond torture and take concrete steps to address this blatant situation. Members of the Human Rights Council should use this statement to establish an independent international investigative mechanism that can pave the way for prosecuting those responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang. There is no longer a moment to lose.
This sends a crucial message to Chinese authorities that they are not above international scrutiny
âWhen crimes against humanity are committed, the international community has a duty to respond with determination, without fear or favor. Just because a state like China is powerful and does everything to intimidate its detractors does not mean that it is immune to the mechanisms of international justice.
âUnfortunately, some states have chosen not to join today’s declaration; Worse yet, some have chosen to use their platform at the Human Rights Council to defend China’s shocking record. This effectively contributes to China’s well-documented efforts to discredit survivors, victims’ families and courageous activists who speak out at considerable personal cost. They must not give in to pressure and must join with other states in working to launch an effective international investigation.
The HRC’s joint statement follows a landmark Amnesty International report released on June 10, which presented compelling evidence of China’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The statement identified a number of violations documented in this report, including arbitrary mass detention, widespread surveillance, torture and other ill-treatment, and collective repression of religious and ethnic minorities.
The joint statement also expressed serious concern “regarding the deterioration of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong under the National Security Law and the human rights situation in Tibet.” A total of 43 countries signed the declaration, a significant jump from just 28 that signed a similar declaration in the Council last June.
The following states signed before its delivery by Canada: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland , Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine and United States.
On June 10, 2021, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team released the report, “As if we were enemies in a war”: the mass internment, torture and persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang by China.
Based on a 20-month investigation and including dozens of new testimonies from former detainees, the report found that Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities are subject to mass imprisonment organized by the State, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity. The report also details the extreme measures taken by the Chinese authorities to essentially eradicate the religious traditions and cultural practices of the Muslim ethnic groups in the region, as well as to cover up the truth about what is happening in the region.
Amnesty International has also launched a new campaign, presenting the files of more than 60 missing persons believed to be held in internment camps or prisons in Xinjiang, calling for the release of all those arbitrarily detained.