EU Statement at the 54th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Item 4 – Human Rights situation that require the Council’s attention
26 September 2023
The EU reiterates its concerns about the very serious human rights situation in China. Based on numerous reports by UN Special Rapporteurs and in particular evidenced based the assessment report of human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the OHCHR, the human rights situation requires the immediate attention of the Government of China, United Nations intergovernmental bodies and the human rights system. Of particular EU concern remain 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 of 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 and subjected to exit bans, house arrest, torture and ill-treatment, unlawful detention, sentencing and enforced disappearance including via Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL) that could amount to torture and ill-treatment. With a view to the seriousness of the human rights situation, the EU urges China to abide by its obligations under national law, including its own Constitution, and international law, to respect, protect and fulfil human rights for all, including Uyghurs, Tibetans and persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities across China. This includes fully respecting the rule of law. China must also respect the principle of non-refoulement, and refrain from any extraterritorial activity (including coercion) 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 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, Dong Guangping, Gao Zhisheng, Go Sherab Gyatso, Guo Quan, He Fangmei, Huang Qi, Huang Xueqin, Sakharov Prize winner Ilham Tohti, Kamile Wayit, Li Qiaochu, Li Yanhe, Li Yuhan, Peng Lifa, Qin Yongming, Qin Yongpei, Rinchen Tsultrim, Ruan Xiaohuan, Tashi Dorje, Tashpolat Tiyip, Wang Aizhong, Wang Bingzhang, Wang Jianbing, Pastor Wang Yi, Wang Zang, Xu Na, Xu Qin, Xu Yan, Xu Zhiyong, Yang Maodong, Yu Wensheng, 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 extranet, but it was shortened when delivered.