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Cross-regional joint statement on the Human Rights Situation in Xinjiang, October 21

21.10.2021 - Speech

I have the honor of delivering this cross-regional joint statement on behalf of the following 43 countries: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini, Finland, Germany, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and my own country France.


We are particularly concerned about the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.


Credible-based reports indicate the existence of a large network of “political re-education” camps where over a million people have been arbitrarily detained. We have seen an increasing number of reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations, including reports documenting torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced separation of children. There are severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association and expression as well as on Uyghur culture. Widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uyghurs and members of other minorities.


We also share the concerns expressed by UN Special Procedures in their 29 March statement and the letter published by UN experts describing collective repression of religious and ethnic minorities.


We thus call on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office, and relevant special procedure mandate holders, as well as to urgently implement CERD’s eight recommendations related to Xinjiang. We welcome the High Commissioner’s announcement to present her findings to date and encourage publication as soon as possible. In view of our concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, we call on all countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement. We also call on China to ratify without delay the ICCPR.


We urge China to ensure full respect for the rule of law and to comply with its obligations under national and international law with regard to the protection of human rights.


Thank you.

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