Uighur Muslims in China Photograph:( Reuters )
The joint statement endorses an unprecedented appeal from 50 UN human rights experts for the creation of a UN mechanism for monitoring human rights in China
A cross-regional group of 39 United Nations member countries issued a stinging public rebuke on Tuesday of the Chinese government’s widespread human rights violations especially in Xinjiang and Tibet, and expressed grave concern at the impact of its new national security law on human rights in Hong Kong.
The United States, many European countries, Japan and others called on China to allow ''unfettered access'' to Xinjiang for independent observers including UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and to urgently refrain from detaining Uighurs and members of other minorities.
The 39 countries also urged China in a joint statement read at a meeting of the General Assembly's human rights committee, to ''uphold autonomy, rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, and to respect the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary.''
“We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong,” German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said in a statement on behalf of the group to the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. “We call on China to respect human rights.”
Supporters of the German-led statement includes Britain, Canada, the United States, many European Union member states, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti, Honduras, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.
The joint statement endorses an unprecedented appeal from 50 UN human rights experts for the creation of a UN mechanism for monitoring human rights in China. A recent global civil society appeal from over 400 organisations echoed the experts’ call.
The rival statements spotlight tensions between China and the West over human rights. Those tensions have escalated especially between the United States and China, and include other issues including responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic, trade, and Beijing's actions in the South China Sea.