The past year was marked by vitally important monitoring and review of China’s human rights situation by the United Nations human rights system. The upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council provides a key opportunity to reinforce the issues raised over the last year, and express collective concern about worsening rights abuse in China and the government’s failure to follow through on its obligations and commitments.
Considerable information has been available in the last year for governments to deepen their understanding of the situation in the country, spanning two UN reviews and nearly two dozen expert letters or opinions, including a full paragraph in the annual update from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Nonetheless, the Chinese state, at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party, continues to suppress dissent and undermine efforts to hold it accountable to its obligations under international agreements.
Millions in the country face dire abuses of their fundamental human rights – be they members of ethnic groups, practitioners of Islam, Tibetan Buddhism or Christianity, human rights defenders, feminists, petitioners, lawyers, journalists, professors or students. Uyghurs and Tibetans are particularly targeted with discriminatory policies and practices. Furthermore, these abuses increasingly affect individuals and communities beyond China’s borders.
In light of this, the international community must push with one voice for change. We urge your government to contribute to and support a resolution on the human rights situation in China.
In doing this, you will join with others to make clear that no State’s development model or economic and political influence can exempt it from its international human rights obligations. If China seeks to be a responsible member of the United Nations and global actor, it should be open to and engage with criticism, rather than seek to deflect or discredit views with which it disagrees.
Such a resolution and any other joint action at the Council should:
Resisting efforts by China to shield itself from international scrutiny, analysis, and reporting is essential to preventing widespread impunity for violations which, in some cases and based on available reporting, may amount to crimes against humanity. This resistance has the greatest, and perhaps only, chance of success when conducted jointly, and when backed by a multi-pronged multilateral and bilateral effort.
We therefore urge you to take advantage of this moment, and the platform of the Human Rights Council, to convey to China the need to open itself to international monitoring and reporting, and the need for rapid and drastic improvement of its human rights performance across all civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.
In so doing, you will demonstrate your commitment to supporting the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur human rights communities – those most central to sustainable change, and yet those most vulnerable in the struggle for it. You will also send a clear message to the Chinese government that such abuses cannot be tolerated or ignored, and that the international community will defend the universality of human rights.
Please rest assured, your Excellency, of our highest consideration, and our willingness to engage with you on these issues in the days and weeks to come.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Asociación Cultural Tibetano-Costarricense
China Human Rights Accountability Center
China Labour Bulletin
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Core Group for the Tibetan Cause
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete
Human Rights in China
International Campaign for Tibet
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights
International Tibet Network Secretariat
Lawyers for Lawyers
Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada
LUNGTA – Actief voor Tibet
Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders
Students for a Free Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet Denmark
Swedish Tibet Kommitten
The Rights Practice
Tibet House, Moscow
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibet Justice Center
Tibet Society UK
Tibet Support Group Netherlands
Tibetan Youth Association Europe
Uyghur Human Rights Project
West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
World Uyghur Congress
The below points summarize key updates from the last six months and provide additional detail for the substance of a resolution. It is important to note that joint action should not preclude continuing the positive practice of raising the overall deterioration of human rights in China through bilateral statements under the full range of dialogues and general debates on the Council’s agenda.