During the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Union (EU) took a strong stance by addressing the "dire situation" in Tibet and Xinjiang, highlighting concerns over issues such as boarding schools and DNA sampling. In a comprehensive statement delivered under item 4, the EU reiterated its serious concerns about human rights violations in China and urged immediate attention from the international community.
The EU's statement emphasized the gravity of the human rights situation in China, citing numerous reports by UN Special Rapporteurs and the assessment report on human rights concerns in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The EU expressed deep concern over a range of human rights abuses.
1. Political Re-education Camps: The existence of such camps was highlighted as a matter of grave concern.
2. Mass Arbitrary Detentions: The EU called attention to the large-scale detentions that have been widely reported.
3. Widespread Surveillance: The EU expressed alarm over the pervasive surveillance, tracking, and control measures in place.
4. Restrictions on Fundamental Freedoms: The EU emphasized the systematic and severe restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief.
5. Forced Labor and Torture: Forced labor, torture, forced abortion, sterilization, birth control, and family separation policies were condemned.
6. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: The EU expressed particular concern over the occurrence of sexual and gender-based violence.
Additionally, the EU raised concerns over recent reports from civil society organizations regarding obligatory boarding schooling and DNA sampling, which further indicate a dire human rights situation in Tibet. The statement reiterated that Uyghurs, Tibetans, and persons belonging to ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities continue to face human rights violations.
Furthermore, the EU highlighted the harassment, intimidation, and surveillance faced by human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, independent reporters, and intellectuals. The EU strongly condemned exit bans, house arrest, torture, ill-treatment, unlawful detention, sentencing, and enforced disappearance, including through Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL).
In its statement, the EU urged China to uphold its obligations under national and international law, including its own Constitution, and to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights for all, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, and persons belonging to ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities across China. The EU emphasized the importance of respecting the rule of law and the principle of non-refoulement.
Additionally, the EU called upon China to cooperate effectively with the OHCHR and all international human rights mechanisms, including implementing the recommendations of the assessment report.
The EU reaffirmed its commitment to closely monitoring the situation and called for the immediate and unconditional release of several individuals, including EU citizen Gui Minhai, whose right to consular access must be respected.
Edited and collated by Team TRC