EU Statement at the 52nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Item 4 – Human Rights situation that require the Council’s attention
22 March 2023
The human rights situation in China, as corroborated by numerous reports of UN Special Rapporteurs and the most recent evidence based 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, remains very serious. Of particular concern are 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, especially in Xinjiang Obligatory boarding schooling and DNA sampling, as reported recently by civil society organisations, can further indicate the dire human rights situation in Tibet. Uyghurs, Tibetans and persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities continue to be subjected to human rights violations. Human rights defenders, human rights lawyers, journalists, independent reporters, other media workers and intellectuals continue to be exposed to harassment, intimidation and surveillance, including the practice of the Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL), and subjected to torture and ill-treatment, unlawful detention, sentencing and often enforced disappearance. The EU expresses its concern regarding the forced disappearance, the arrests and the prosecutions of participants, to the so-called White-Paper movement of November 2022. The EU urges China to abide by its obligations under national law, including China’s own Constitution, and international law, notably international human rights law. This includes fully respecting the rule of law. China must respect the principle of non-refoulement, and refrain from any extraterritorial activity that is not in line with international law. The EU encourages China to effectively cooperate with the OHCHR, including towards the implementation of the recommendations of the assessment report and with all international human rights mechanisms. The OHCHR assessment report concludes that the human rights situation in XUAR also requires urgent attention by the Government, the United Nations intergovernmental bodies and human rights system, as well as the international community more broadly. The EU continues to closely monitor the situation and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of, among others, Pastor Cao Sanqiang, Cao Zhixin, Chang Weiping, Chen Jianfang, Chen Yunfei, Cheng Yuan, Ding Jiaxi, Fang Bin, Gao Zhisheng, Go Sherab Gyatso, Guo Quan, Hou Jinyi, Huang Qi, Huang Xueqin, Sakharov Prize winner Ilham Tohti, Kamile Wayt, Li Qiaochu, Li Siqi, Li Yuanjing, Li Yuhan, Peng Lifa, Qin Yongming, Qin Yongpei, Rinchen Tsultrim, Tashi Dorje, Tashpolat Tiyip, Wang Bingzhang, Wang Jianbing, Pastor Wang Yi, Wang Zang, Wu Gan, Xin Shang, Xu Na, Xu Qin, Xu Zhiyong, Yang Maodong, Zhai Dengrui, Pastor Zhang Chunlei and Zhang Zhan, as well as 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.