EU Statement at the 51st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Item 4 – Human Rights situation that require the Council’s attention
26 September 2022
As to the human rights situation in China, the EU welcomes the release of the assessment report of human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report underscores the serious human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang and finds that these, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity. The EU underscores the need for justice and accountability and urges China to cooperate with the OHCHR to implement the report’s recommendations. The EU reiterates its persistent and serious concerns about the existence of a large network of political re-education camps, mass arbitrary detentions, widespread surveillance, tracking and control measures, systemic and severe restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief, as well as the use of forced labour, torture, forced abortion and sterilisation, birth control and family separation policies, and sexual and gender-based violence, which have been confirmed by the report. As the report states, the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region requires urgent attention by the Chinese Government, the United Nations, in particular its human rights bodies, as well as the international community more broadly. The EU joins the call by UN experts reporting to the Human Rights Council to closely monitor, report, and assess the human rights situation in China. Latest documentations confirm the seriousness of the human rights situation in China, especially in Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. The EU urges China to abide by its obligations under national and international law to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including Uighurs and persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities across China, especially in Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. This includes fully respecting the principle of non-refoulement. The EU notes the deposit of the instruments of ratification by China in August 2022, of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), and calls upon China to take the necessary measures to effectively implement them, bringing China’s laws, regulations and practices fully in line with the obligations included therein. The intensified crackdown on human rights defenders, human rights lawyers, journalists, independent reporters, other media workers and intellectuals who continue to be exposed to harassment, intimidation and surveillance, including the practice of the Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL), and subjected to unlawful detention, sentencing and enforced disappearance, and torture and ill-treatment, remains of equally serious concern. The EU urges China to ensure full respect for the rule of law, to investigate violations of human rights or international law, to guarantee procedural fairness and due process of law. The EU continues to closely monitor the situation and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of, among others, Pastor Cao Sanqiang, Chang Weiping, Chen Jianfang, Chen Yunfei, Cheng Yuan, Ding Jiaxi, Dorjee Tashi, Fang Bin, Gao Zhisheng, Guo Quan, Guo Feixiong, Go Sherab Gyatso, Huang Qi, Huang Xueqin, Li Qiaochu, Li Yuhan, Qin Yongmin, Qin Yongpei, Rinchen Tsultrim, Tang Jitian, Tiyip Tashpolat, Sakharov Prize laureate Ilham Tohti, Wang Bingzhang, Wang Jianbing, Pastor Wang Yi, Wang Li, Wang Zang, Wu Gan, Xu Qin, Xu Na, Xu Zhiyong, Yang Maodong, Pastor Zhang Chunlei and Zhang Zhan as well as the EU citizen Gui Minhai whose right to consular access must be respected.
Remarks: The above quote is from the full statement available on the UNHRC’s website, but it was shortened when delivered.