Lawmakers from 20 countries have written to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for the release of a long awaited report into human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) before the beginning of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
The letter, attached, notes that it has been over one and a half years since 50 UN experts called on the UN Human Rights Council to establish a monitoring mechanism for human rights abuses taking place in the XUAR in June 2020. Though High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet signalled that her office’s own report into the violations was reaching its final stages in September 2021, no subsequent timeline has been given for its publication.
Signing legislators represent legislatures across five continents including the European Union, India, UK, Uganda, Canada and Australia, and have been coordinated by the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Prominent signatories include Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, chair of the European Parliament’s China delegation; Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, former leader of the UK Conservative party; Australian Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching and Indian BJD MP Sujeet Kumar.
IPAC members have previously led resolutions and parliamentary questions in over 10 parliaments calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, calls which have seen success in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Lithuania and elsewhere. The letter follows a parallel initiative led by IPAC member and US Senator Mark Warner, who also led a letter to the High Commissioner last week raising concerns at human rights violations in the Uyghur Region.
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (Germany), IPAC Co-Chair, said:
“As the world’s attention turns to Beijing for the Games, we cannot allow the Chinese government to ‘sports-wash’ over the atrocities taking place in the Xinjiang Region. No country, no matter how large or important, is beyond scrutiny or above international law. The time has come for the Commissioner to publish its report and begin to establish what is truly happening in the Xinjiang Region.”
Senator James Paterson (Australia), IPAC Co-Chair, said:
“It has been more than 18 months since 50 UN experts warned the UN Human Rights Council of atrocities taking place in the Uyghur Region, and up to today still no investigation has been made. The body exists to uphold human rights and yet it is failing to act on the most damning allegations of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. We call on the Commissioner to publish her report without further delay.”
TEXT OF LETTER BELOW
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China
Ms Michelle Bachelet
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson – 52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
27 January 2022
Dear High Commissioner Bachelet,
We, members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, add our voices to requests that your office publish its report assessing human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) before the beginning of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
In June 2020, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China welcomed calls by 50 independent United Nations human rights experts for the UN Human Rights Council to urgently monitor the repression of ethnic and religious minorities in the XUAR. Since then, a growing number of legal investigations have pointed to suspected Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity against Uyghurs – including the conclusion of the independent Uyghur Tribunal last month. We are deeply disappointed that the UN Human Rights Council has failed to fulfil the recommendations made by the UN experts more than a year and a half ago.
As the world’s attention turns towards Beijing for the start of the Winter Olympics, it is of paramount importance that the Chinese government is held to account for its actions in the XUAR. We urge you to publish the findings of the report, announced as in its final stages in September 2021, before the beginning of the Games. Doing so would send a strong signal that no country is beyond scrutiny or above international law. You can count on our full support as we work together to uphold human rights and international law in the XUAR and beyond.
Lucy Akello MP (Uganda)
Katarina Ammitzbøll (Denmark)
Michael Brand MdB (Germany)
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (European Parliament, Germany)
Senator Malcolm Byrne (Ireland)
Samuel Cogolati MP (Belgium)
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Canada)
Rt Hon Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP (United Kingdom)
Senator Pavel Fischer (Czechia)
Garnett Genuis MP (Canada)
Els Van Hoof MP (Belgium)
Uffe Elbæk MP (Denmark)
Senator André Gattolin (France)
Constance Le Grip MP (France)
Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia)
Sujeet Kumar MP (India)
Elisabet Lann (Sweden)
Tom van der Lee MP (Netherlands)
Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Parliament, Slovakia)
Fabian Molina MP (Switzerland)
John McKay MP (Canada)
Guri Melby MP (Norway)
Simon O’Connor MP (New Zealand)
Senator James Paterson (Australia)
Dovilė Šakalienė MP (Lithuania)
Sjoerd Sjoerdsma MP (Netherlands)
Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand)
Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China