UN Human Rights Committee: A clear warning to China

Status: 10/22/2021 8:44 a.m.

The UN has again denounced China’s massive human rights violations – mainly because of the oppression of the Uyghurs. A striking number of states support the words of warning.

By Antje Passenheim, ARD-Studio New York

The declaration of the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee has never been signed by more countries than ever before: 43 countries. They are particularly concerned about the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. There are credible reports about so-called “political re-education camps”.

Antje Passenheim
ARD-Studio New York

More than a million people are being held there. They would be deprived of their freedom of movement, expression and religion and would not be allowed to practice their culture. There is more and more information about massive human rights violations in these camps – including reports of torture and cruel punishments. Women would be forcibly sterilized and children would be separated from their parents.

Human rights activists hope for a UN resolution

The UN director of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau, speaks of a strong statement: “We hope that this will result in votes for a resolution – ideally at the Human Rights Council to initiate an international investigation into human rights violations in Xinjiang and the rest of China set.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has already announced that she will publish her own report on the situation in Xinjiang. In the statement that has now been published, the countries demand: Beijing should grant observers access to the region so that they can get an idea of ​​the situation. This requirement is not new. And there are no such declarations to China either.

But what is new is that more and more countries are standing behind them, says Charbonneau: “Turkey has signed, two African countries. For the first time, all regional groups of the UN have signed. This is a global declaration.”

Blackmail attempts by China?

And so no one who could accuse China of having abandoned western states alone. In addition to Germany and France, they also include the USA and Great Britain as well as most of the EU countries.

Many smaller countries – for example from Africa – have so far been afraid to openly oppose the Chinese leadership. They report massive blackmail attempts from Beijing. China has threatened some countries to withdraw economic aid or loans from them if they agree to the declaration. “I heard from a Latin American country that China has threatened to deny it access to Covid-19 vaccine if it signs the statement,” said Charbonneau.

The fact that far more states have signed the declaration than last year is a big step, say UN diplomats. The pressure on China is growing. But Beijing remains: the allegations are false. There was initially no reaction to the declaration.

UN group urges China to respect human rights – access to Xinjiang demanded

Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, 10/22/2021 7:59 a.m.


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