EU Statement at the 43rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Item 4 – Human Rights situation that require the Council’s attention
10 March 2020
“During the 21st EU-China Summit, the EU and China reaffirmed that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The EU is 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 Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as well reports about forced labour. Twelve UN Special Procedures mandate holders have assessed that the application of the Counter-Terrorism Law of China and related practices raises serious concerns, particularly for people belonging to minorities. The EU calls for an independent, objective, impartial and transparent assessment of the issues of concern already identified by the UN Special Procedures. We therefore reiterate our call on China to allow meaningful access to Xinjiang Uighur 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. The EU urges China to ensure the rule of law, establish fair trial guarantees and to investigate thoroughly reported cases of arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture of human rights defenders and their families. We are gravely concerned about the detentions and trials of human rights defenders, lawyers, and intellectuals, including Wang Quanzhang, Yu Wensheng, Qin Yongmin, Gao Zhisheng, Sakharov Prize laureate Ilham Tohti, Huang Qi, Tashi Wangchuk, Tiyip Tashpolat, Li Yuhan, Wu Gan, Cheng Yuan, Liu Dazhi, Wuge Jianxiong, Xu Zhiyong, Chen Qiushi, Fan Bing, Guo Quan and Chen Jianfang. We call for their immediate release, as well as for the immediate release of Pastor Wang Yi and of EU citizen Gui Minhai who was sentenced on 25 February to 10 years of imprisonment by a Chinese court. The rights of Gui Minhai, including inter alia to consular access and due process, have not been respected. We are concerned about growing restrictions on freedom of expression, on access to information, and about intimidation and surveillance of journalists. The EU recalls that fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly, as well as Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, are enshrined in the Basic Law and in international agreements, and must continue to be upheld.”
Remarks: The above quote is from the full statement available on the UNHRC’s website, but it was shortened when delivered.