In a remarkable display of unity, fifty-one United Nations member countries have issued a powerful joint declaration, firmly denouncing the severe human rights violations endured by Uyghurs and other Turkic communities under the Chinese government. Geneva Council, an independent news organization dedicated to championing the values of the United Nations, proudly stands in solidarity with these nations as they call upon Beijing to halt its systematic human rights abuses within the Xinjiang region.
This historic cross-regional statement, eloquently presented to the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on October 18 by Britain’s Deputy Permanent Representative, James Kariuki, unequivocally asserts that individuals belonging to Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang continue to suffer grave violations of their human rights.
The joint declaration highlights the compelling findings of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ comprehensive report on Xinjiang, released in August 2022. This report concludes that the abuses are so extensive and severe that they may constitute international crimes, including crimes against humanity.
These UN findings align with those reported by various organizations. These organizations have consistently exposed mass detentions, acts of torture, cultural persecution, forced labor, and other grave human rights violations targeting Turkic Muslim communities within Xinjiang.
Signatories to this historic declaration encompass a roster of prominent nations, including Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, as well as Eswatini, Liberia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, and others.
The declaration draws attention to the plea by the UN High Commissioner, Volker Türk, who recently urged Beijing to take strong remedial actions in line with the recommendations outlined in his office’s 2022 report, which, regrettably, China has yet to implement.
In full support of this endeavor, Geneva Council calls upon Türk and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to work collaboratively to ensure the sustained pursuit of the 2022 Xinjiang report, which includes the continued collection of evidence regarding the severe abuses and regular reporting to member states.
While the international community collectively denounces these actions, it is noteworthy that China found support from a sympathetic delegation to issue a statement. This year, Pakistan read a joint statement to the Third Committee, asserting that the situation in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet is a matter of China’s “internal affairs,” while opposing the “politicization of human rights.” Notably, China’s UN delegation claimed that 72 countries supported this statement, though past instances have revealed that some nations were unaware they were listed as signatories.
As Geneva Council firmly supports the principles and values upheld by the United Nations, we call upon all UN member nations to leverage every available opportunity to confront China’s disturbing human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and across the country. Furthermore, we urge the international community to mobilize support for a formal UN investigation into the reported abuses in Xinjiang. Volker Türk and Antonio Guterres should maintain their commitment to provide regular updates to UN delegations concerning the state of human rights in China. An update from the UN on Xinjiang is undeniably overdue.