39 countries at UN call for monitoring of rights situation in China

A group of 39 cross-regional United Nations member countries led by Germany has rebuked China for widespread human rights violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet, expressing 'grave concerns' about abuses

Oct 08, 2020
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A group of 39 cross-regional United Nations member countries led by Germany has rebuked China for widespread human rights violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet, expressing 'grave concerns' about abuses.

"We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong," a joint statement by German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen on behalf of 39 countries in the Third Committee General Debate on Tuesday said.

In June 2020, 50 UN Special Procedures mandate holders issued an exceptional letter of concern, calling on the People's Republic of China to respect human rights.

"We share their grave concerns. We call on China to respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet.

"On Xinjiang, we are gravely concerned about the existence of a large network of apolitical re-education' camps where credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained. We have seen an increasing number of reports of gross human rights violations. There are severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association, and expression as well as on Uyghur culture.

"Widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uyghurs and other minorities and more reports are emerging of forced labour and forced birth control including sterilization.

"We also share concerns expressed separately by a group of UN experts that a number of provisions in the Hong Kong National Security Law do not conform to China's international legal obligations. We have deep concerns about elements of the National Security Law that allow for certain cases to be transferred for prosecution to the Chinese mainland.

"We urge the relevant authorities to guarantee the rights which are protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, including freedoms of speech, the press and assembly.

The 39 nations, comprising Germany, Britain, France, Canada and the US, called on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office.

The Tibetan exile administration, known as the Central Tibetan Administration and headed by democratically elected Lobsang Sangay, is based in this northern Indian hill town.

Sangay time and again has been urging the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the global community to hold a special session to evaluate the human rights violations being carried out by China and to establish a country mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on China to monitor, analyze and report annually on the human rights situation in Tibet.
(IANS)

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