Geneva Council Condemns Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang

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The Geneva Council, an independent news organization dedicated to promoting global human rights and justice, stands united with the international community in condemning the continuous and egregious Crimes Against Humanity being committed in Xinjiang, China.

In a recent side event held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, representatives from twenty-seven nations joined forces to denounce the relentless human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. Despite China’s aggressive warnings and opposition, this critical event proceeded as a testament to the unwavering commitment to human rights.

Organized by the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, the forum aimed to shed light on the global community’s collective failure to act following the release of a damning UN-commissioned report on August 31, 2023. This report unequivocally classified the atrocities against the Uyghur community in Xinjiang as international crimes, specifically Crimes Against Humanity.

The Geneva Council, along with the international community, recognizes the gravity of this situation and deplores the silence of nations indebted to China, either financially or strategically, who have failed to take a principled stand against these gross violations of human rights.

Rayhan Asat, a Uyghur human rights lawyer who chaired the event, articulated the profound and enduring pain inflicted on Uyghur families. She stated, “China has robbed us of months and years of being with our loved ones through mass detention, imprisonment, lengthy sentences, and separation.” She underscored that the Uyghur community’s suffering would echo through generations.

Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice from the United States, emphasized that the UN report should mark the beginning, not the end, of investigations into the persecution of Uyghurs. She highlighted ongoing human rights violations, including extrajudicial prison terms, arbitrary arrests, document confiscation, restricted movement, mass surveillance, compulsory sterilization, and widespread enforced labor programs affecting hundreds of thousands.

Peter Loeffelhardt, the German Foreign Office’s director for Asia and the Pacific, voiced strong condemnation for separating human rights from development and reminded China of its obligations under international law. He stressed that silence in the face of such grave human rights violations was unacceptable.

Belén Martinez Carbonell, Managing Director for Multilateral Affairs at the European External Action Service (EEAS), expressed deep concern over Uyghur forced labor and announced the EU’s commitment to developing legislation aimed at eradicating forced labor from global supply chains.

Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, highlighted that despite Xinjiang fading from headlines, Crimes Against Humanity persisted, with arbitrary detentions and harsh sentences on the rise.

Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, criticized China’s warning letter and accused the Chinese leadership of attempting to normalize their actions in Xinjiang. She pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative had silenced many nations critical of China due to their economic ties with the superpower.

The Geneva Council applauds the efforts of human rights groups in the West for spotlighting large multinational companies complicit in Uyghur forced labor abuses. We urge governments worldwide to enact legislation and call upon the international community to unite against China’s ongoing Crimes Against Humanity.

Last year, a UN Human Rights Council ballot to confront China with its abuses narrowly failed by a vote of 17 to 19. Sophie Richardson, despite her disappointment, remained optimistic, stating, “We have never got that close before to holding China to account. The challenge is—it’s winnable. Let’s get out and do some work to make it happen.”

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for moral consistency within the UN system and urged leaders to speak out on all issues. He emphasized that the goal was to improve the situation for Uyghurs and was not about being anti-China but pro the people of China who have been denied access to their basic human rights.

The Geneva Council stands resolute in its commitment to shedding light on these ongoing Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang and calls upon the international community to take immediate and decisive action to ensure justice and respect for human rights for all. We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates on this critical issue.

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