On Wednesday, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its long delayed report titled “OHCHR Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” This 48-page report was released at the last minute of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet’s tenure.
The new report is important in ratifying what human rights groups have been documenting for years. Unfortunately, it failed to recognize China’s atrocities against the Uyghurs and other Turkic speaking nations in East Turkestan as genocide. Instead the U.N. report defined “China’s arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Turkic speaking people of East Turkestan “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
Although the UN report falls short of a complete determination of Uyghur genocide and labeled China’s crack down on Uyghurs as “crimes against humanity,” it confirms that China has been commiting “serious human rights violations” under the guise of fighting terrorism and extremism. According to this report mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in the past years was indeed “marked by patterns of torture” and detainees are being subjected to forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and violations” such as sexual violence, political indoctirnation.
The OHCHR report also concludes “serious indications of violations of reproductive rights through the coercive and discriminatory enforcement of family planning and birth control policies.” It calls on the Chinese government to release all detainees who have been “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty,” and demands that it provide information to Uyghur people demanding information about their missing loved ones.
Save Uyghur Campaign of Justice For All recognizes that though this report indeed stops short of a complete Uyghur genocide determination, it might help to challenge Beijing’s series of human rights violations and abuse on Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkestan by providing credible evidence with witness accounts. Regarding this report, Save Uyghur team-lead Serwi Huseyin stated, “The British Parliament, the U.S. State Department, the Canadian government and several other countries have declared that China’s abuse on Uyghurs constitutes genocide. However in June 2022 the European Parliament’s resolution stated that, China’s crime amounts to ‘crimes against humanity’ and holds a ‘serious risk of genocide.’
Since the U.N. report only states that; ‘China may have committed crimes against humanity,’ members of the Uyghur diaspora, like myself, are concerned that by weakening the level of genocide, the OHCHR may be giving into the Chinese government’s pressure to avoid explicit terminologies which correctly reflect the scope and scale of China’s harsh crackdown. The fact that the release of the U.N. report took place minutes prior to Michele Bachelet’s resignation took effect is evidence of the Chinese governments’ influence on U.N. leadership.”
Also in this report the U.N. has failed to provide practical recommendations to its member states; the U.N. General Assembly and global community. We urge the U.N. to launch a full scale formal investigation free of CCP intervention in Chinese occupied East Turkestan. We also call on the international community to recognize the severity of incarceration in this region and take measures to pressure the Chinese government to stop its crackdown on Uyghurs and other Turkic speaking nationalities.
As Andrew Bremberg, former U.S. ambassador has already said regarding this report, “The Uyghurs deserve better from the free world.” It’s past time to stand up more effectively against China’s brutal genocidal measures targeting Uyghurs and Turkic speaking peoples in East Turkestan.